© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: File photo of shoppers leaving a Bed Bath and Beyond store in Boca Raton

(Reuters) – Home furnishing retailer Bed Bath & Beyond Inc (O:) on Wednesday reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, bolstered by its online business, and forecast earnings for 2019 above Wall Street estimates.

The company’s shares, which had nearly halved in 2018, rose 21 percent in extended trading. However, short interest in Bed Bath & Beyond has climbed to at least a five-year-plus high, representing about a quarter of the company’s free float, according to Refinitiv data.

The retailer forecast 2019 earnings per share to be about the same as fiscal 2018 at $2 per share. Analysts on average had expected a profit of $1.99 per share.

The Union, New Jersey-based company’s net income fell 60 percent to $24.4 million, or 18 cents per share, in the third quarter ended Dec. 1.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of 17 cents per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Net sales rose to $3.03 billion from $2.95 billion.

However, total comparable sales dropped 1.8 percent, continuing their slide for the seventh straight quarter. Analysts had expected comparable sales to fall 0.29 percent.

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