Tractor Supply Co. shares
slid 4.7% in premarket trade Wednesday, after the company warned that first-quarter earnings will fall short of estimates. The Brentwood, Tn.-based rural retail chain said net sales rose 6.6% in the quarter to $1.56 billion, but same-store sales fell 2.2%. “The comparable store sales results included decreases in comparable transaction count and average ticket of 1.4% and 0.9%, respectively,” the company said in a statement. The decline was driven by lower sales of seasonal merchandise and deflation, with sales weakest in the Northern regions, where weather had the biggest impact. The company is now expecting first-quarter per-share earnings of 45 cents to 46 cents, below the FactSet consensus of 49 cents. “We believe seasonal merchandise sales will improve as we move further into the spring selling season,” said Chief Executive Greg Sandfort. Shares are down 7% in 2017, while the S&P 500
has gained 5%.