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Books-A-Million posts surprise profit in 2Q

Books-A-Million Inc. (Nasdaq: BAMM) topped analysts' estimates in its second quarter Thursday, earning $19,000 on sales of $90 million. First Call consensus expected the bookseller to post a loss of 3 cents a share.

Its shares closed off 5/16 to 10 1/16 ahead of the earnings report.

In the year-ago quarter, Books-A-Million lost $514,000, or 3 cents a share.

Company officials said comparable-store sales improved 5.4 percent in the quarter at its 178 retail stores.

"Our strong comparable stores sales growth for the quarter reflects our continued discipline in store operations, which led to a strong performance across a broad range of merchandise categories," said CEO Clyde Anderson in a prepared release. "We are very pleased with these results and believe we are well positioned to build on this trend as we enter the second half of our fiscal year."

The company recently announced a strategic alliance with Wal-Mart, making Books-A-Million the exclusive provider and distributor of books and related products to the discount giant's online customers.

After exploding up to an all-time high of 47 in November, Books-A-Million shares have faltered. The stock was trading at a 52-week low of 2 3/4 in October.

All three analysts following the stock maintain a "buy" recommendation on the stock.

First Call consensus expects it to earn 27 cents a share in the fiscal year.>