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Hibbett Sports Q3 Results Top Estimates, Boosts 2013 Outlook


Sporting goods retailer Hibbett Sports, Inc. (HIBB) reported Friday a profit for the third quarter that increased 19 percent from last year, driven by improved margins and higher sales at established stores. Both earnings per share and quarterly revenues topped analysts' expectations. The company also raised its earnings guidance for the full-year 2013.

"The back-to-school season, particularly in August, was as strong as we had anticipated. The positive trends in apparel and footwear, along with our continued focus on local assortments and exceptional inventory control, resulted in significant margin expansion and another increase to our Fiscal 2013 guidance," President and CEO Jeff Rosenthal said in a statement.

The Birmingham, Alabama-based company reported net income of $18.97 million or $0.71 per share for the third quarter, higher than $15.96 million or $0.59 per share in the prior-year quarter.

On average, 16 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report earnings of $0.68 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude one-time items.

Net sales for the quarter increased 9.6 percent to $202.93 million from $185.18 million in the same quarter last year, and topped fourteen Wall Street analysts' consensus estimate of $201.74 million by a whisker. Comparable store sales increased 6.4 percent on strong back-to-school sales.

Gross profit margin for the quarter expanded 60 basis points to 37.2 percent, reflecting improved product margin and leveraging store occupancy costs.

Store operating, selling and administrative expenses as a percentage of net sales improved 60 basis points to 20.7 percent from last year's 21.3 percent, due primarily to the leveraging of store level costs and decreased debit card transaction fees.

During the third quarter, Hibbett opened 13 new stores, closed 2 under-performing stores and expanded 4 high performing stores. This brings the company's total store base to 848 in 26 states.

Looking ahead to fiscal 2013, the retailer raised its earnings guidance to a range of $2.66 to $2.71 per share from the prior forecast range of $2.57 to $2.67 per share. Street is looking for full-year 2013 earnings of $2.69 per share.

The company continues to project comparable store sales to increase in the mid-single digit range for the full year.

Further, the company anticipates opening 57 to 60 new stores, expand 17 high performing stores and close up to 18 stores in the full-year 2013.

"We are well positioned to maintain this positive momentum during the upcoming holiday season," Rosenthal added.

HIBB closed Thursday's regular trading session at $54.98, up $1.11 on a volume of 0.44 million shares. In the past 52-week period, the stock has been trading in a range of $41.64 to $63.39.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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