OPERATOR: Welcome to Bed Bath & Beyond's Second Quarter of Fiscal 2008 results conference call. (Operator Instructions). All participants are in a listen only mode for the duration of this call. This call is being recorded.
A rebroadcast of the conference will be available beginning on Wednesday, September 24, 2008 at 6:30 PM Eastern time through 6:30 PM Eastern time on Friday, September 26, 2008. To access the rebroadcast, you may dial 1-888-203-1112, with a passcode ID of 7466171.
Now at this time it's my pleasure to turn the conference over to Ron Curwin, Senior Vice President of Investor Relations of Bed Bath & Beyond.
Mr. Curwin, please go ahead.
RON CURWIN, SVP IR, BED BATH & BEYOND INC.: Thank you and good afternoon. Welcome to Bed Bath & Beyond's Second Quarter of Fiscal 2008 conference call. Within the past hour we issued a press release covering Bed Bath & Beyond's results for the three and six month periods ended August 30, 2008. During this call we will comment on some of the quarter's highlights, and update guidance for fiscal 2008, a 52-week year ending on February 28, 2009.
Before proceeding, I will read the following statement and I quote: "Bed Bath & Beyond's fiscal second quarter press release and comments made during this call may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Many of these forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as may, will, expect, anticipate, estimate, assume, continue, project, plan, and similar words and phrases. The Company's actual results and future financial condition may differ materially from those expressed in any such forward-looking statements as a result of many factors that may be outside the Company's control. Please refer to Bed Bath & Beyond's SEC filings, including its Form 10-K, for the year ended March 1, 2008. The Company does not undertake any obligation to update its forward-looking statements."
Warren Eisenberg, Co-Chairman of Bed Bath & Beyond, leads off today's call. Steven Temares, Chief Executive Officer, and a Member of the Board of Directors, will follow Warren.
Some additional financial commentary will conclude today's call.
I'm now very pleased to introduce Warren Eisenberg:
WARREN EISENBERG, CO-CHAIRMAN, BED BATH & BEYOND INC.: Good afternoon. Our press release, issued within the past hour, showed that our Company earned $0.46 per diluted share in the fiscal second quarter ended August 30, 2008. In this challenging macroeconomic environment, we continue to focus on our customers and in doing so, seek to further distance ourselves from our competitors. As always, we base our actions on what is prudent under the circumstances and what is in the best interests of our customers and our shareholders for the long term.
We opened 13 new Bed Bath & Beyond stores during the fiscal second quarter, including our second store in Canada, and 22 in the first half of fiscal 2008. Including the four additional Bed Bath & Beyond stores and one Christmas Tree Shops store we just opened in the beginning of our third fiscal quarter, we have 907 Bed Bath & Beyond stores in 49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Canada, as well as 42 Christmas Tree Shops stores, 10 buybuy BABY stores, and 40 stores under the names Harmon and Harmon Face Values. Consolidated store space at August 30, 2008 was approximately 30.8 million square feet.
In addition, as announced in May, we …