* Q1 EPS $0.01 vs est loss/shr $0.04
* Revenue up 13 pct
* Reaffirms fiscal 2009 view
April 22 (Reuters) - Retail farm and ranch supplies retailer Tractor Supply Co (TSCO.O) posted a surprise first-quarter profit, helped by strong sales of animal and pet-related products, and reaffirmed its fiscal 2009 forecast.
“We have identified additional growth opportunities for the business, including expanding our long-term store target to 1,800 domestic stores,” CEO Jim Wright said in a statement.
For the quarter ended March 28, the Brentwood, Tennessee-based company reported net income of $0.5 million, or 1 cent per share, compared with a net loss of $2.0 million, or 5 cents per diluted share, a year ago.
Revenue rose 13 percent to $650.2 million.
Analysts were expecting the company to post a loss of 4 cents a share, before special items, on revenue of $632.1 million, according to Reuters Estimates.
Gross margin increased 14.5 percent to $201.0 million.
Sales at stores open at least a year, a key measure of retail health, rose 4.2 percent during the quarter, driven by its core consumable categories, including animal and pet-related products.
Tractor Supply, whose competitors include Home Depot Inc (HD.N) and Sears Holdings Corp SHLD.O among others, reaffirmed its fiscal 2009 forecast of earnings of $2.58 to $2.74 per share on net sales of $3.2 billion to $3.3 billion.
Analysts on an average had expected earnings of $2.61 a share on revenue of $3.22 billion.
Shares of the company closed at $42.70 Wednesday on Nasdaq. (Reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee in Bangalore; Editing by Anne Pallivathuckal)