Shares of Tractor Supply were up more than 2 percent midday Thursday after the farm and ranch products retailer reported third-quarter results and executives said they will this year buy back more of the company’s stock than previously expected.

The leaders of Brentwood-based Tractor Supply said Thursday that the company posted a third-quarter profit of $122 million, up 4.5 percent from the same period of 2018. Per diluted share and adjusting for the one-time costs associated with the departure of former president Steve Barbarick, earnings were $1.04, a penny better than analysts had expected. However, the company’s sales of $1.98 billion for the quarter were a little short of analysts’ estimates even though they were up 5 percent from a year earlier and same-store sales rose 2.9 percent.

CEO Greg Sandfort and his team said that higher gross margins — at 35.0 percent, they were 30 basis points higher than in 2018’s Q3 — fell down the income statement once Barbaric’s severance agreement was excluded. Year to date, adjusted operating margin was 9.02 percent, up slightly from 2018.

Sandfort and his team also said they now plan to finish 2019 having bought back between $525 million and $550 million of Tractor Supply’s stock. Their previous guidance was for a range of $350 million to $450 million. In the third quarter, the company repurchased about $156 million of stock, in line with its pace from the first half.

At about 12:30 p.m., Tractor Supply shares (Ticker: TSCO) were changing hands around $97. They have fallen about 6 percent in the past six months.

This story first appeared on our sister publication the Nashville Post

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