Hibbett Sports eyes growth following strong first quarter

Strong demand in Hibbett Sports’ core footwear and brand-focused apparel business helped drive sales in the first quarter. The sporting goods retailer opened a record number of new stores and fully converted operations to its new wholesale and logistics facility, but it’s not done growing its footprint in fiscal 2015.

In the quarter, Hibbett opened 16 new stores, expanded four high performing stores and closed four underperforming stores, bringing the store base to 939 in 31 states as of May 3. It plans to open between 75 and 80 new stores, expand 10 to 15 and close 15 to 20 for the full year.

Net sales climbed 9.1% to $261.9 million for the 13-week period ended May 3, compared with $240 million for the prior-year quarter. Comparable store sales increased 4.1%.

Gross profit was 37.5% of net sales for the quarter, compared with 37.9% for the prior-year quarter.

Net income was $28.4 million, compared with $26.2 million for the prior year quarter. Earnings per diluted share were $1.09, compared with $1.00 for the same period last year.

“Looking forward, the continued success of new stores and the efficiencies of our new wholesale and logistics facility will be a catalyst for sustained, profitable growth for the company,” said president and CEO Jeff Rosenthal. “Our team is focused on the execution of our strategic priorities and delivering sound results for our shareholders. We are confident that we can achieve the financial and operational goals for fiscal 2015 and beyond.”

Looking ahead, the company anticipates Earnings per diluted share in the range of $2.78 to $2.98; an increase in comparable-store sales in the low-to-mid single digit range; flat to slightly positive product gross margin rate compared to fiscal 2014; and an estimated $0.11 per diluted share impact from additional costs related to the transition to the new wholesale and logistics facility, ongoing operational costs after opening and increased depreciation.



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