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Specialty sporting goods retailer wages war on poor IT performance

BY CSA STAFF

Goruck, a specialty digital retailer of military-grade sporting and outdoor goods, was founded by a former Green Beret and doesn’t have “quit” in its vocabulary.

So when the Jacksonville, Florida-based company faced problems resulting from an outdated e-commerce infrastructure, it charged ahead with help from online retail solutions provider Mozu. Goruck had outgrown its old solution and was searching for an e-commerce platform to help improve issues such as page load times that averaged 10 seconds, and a mobile experience that relied on unscalable shortcuts. Everything on the site was hard-coded, and even the smallest update required an IT resource.

After integrating with the Mozu platform, Goruck has seen a dramatic 65% increase in mobile conversions. The retailer has also grown online revenue by 48% and tripled website efficiency with 300% faster page load times.

“When we sought out Mozu, we realized we had an opportunity to improve our website’s functionality while also allowing it to scale with the business,” said Jason McCarthy, founder of Goruck. “Mozu’s modern and flexible API works with our unique business model, and gives users the ability to optimize the site for any device, vastly improving customer user experience.”

The Goruck site is now optimized for any device, including a customizable shopping experience that reduces the stress on IT with its faster load times. The flexibility of the Mozu platform gives business users reliable access, complete control, and the ability to create seamless digital experiences that engage shoppers from desktop to mobile to tablet.

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Finish Line turns the corner with help from e-commerce

BY Gina Acosta

The Finish Line Inc. says its efforts to improve digital fulfillment rates are paying off, as the sporting goods retailer posted an increase in same-store sales in the fourth quarter.

For the fourth quarter ended Feb. 27, consolidated net sales at the Finish Line were $580.3 million, an increase of 5.2% over the prior year period. Same-store sales increased 4.6%. Non-GAAP diluted earnings per share, which primarily excludes the impact from the write-off of technology assets and store impairment charges, were 83 cents.

“We worked diligently to improve digital fulfillment rates and flow new inventory to our stores during the fourth quarter, which helped us achieve a mid-single digit comparable sales increase and adjusted earnings per share at the high-end of our guidance range,” said Sam Sato, CEO of Finish Line. “In addition to achieving optimal performance from our supply chain, our top priorities are continuing to bolster our vendor relationships and fortifying the foundational strengths of the company through new leadership and improved processes. I am confident that elevating our execution across the organization will result in an enhanced customer experience and drive profitable growth and increased shareholder value over the long-term.”

For the full year, consolidated net sales were a record $1.89 billion, an increase of 3.8% over the prior year. Same-store sales increased 1.8%. Non-GAAP diluted earnings per share were $1.21.

The Finish Line said it expects same-store sales to increase in the 3% to 5% range and earnings per share to be between $1.50 and $1.56 in fiscal 2017.

The Finish Line has approximately 980 Finish Line branded locations primarily in U.S. malls and shops inside Macy’s department stores.

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Sportsman’s Warehouse hunts for growth with more new stores

BY Mike Troy

Sportsman’s Warehouse Holdings announced plans for its most ambitious expansion program ever with 11 new stores planned for 2016 following a strong fourth quarter performance.

The Midvale, Utah-based operator of 64 stores focused on the categories of hunting, fishing and camping, opened nine stores last year which combined with its strong fourth quarter showing enabled the company to produce record results. The addition of 11 stores this year will give the company, which went public in April 2014, 75 locations in 20 predominantly Western states and Alaska.

"We are very pleased to have ended fiscal year 2015 with a strong fourth quarter and to have delivered on the revenue and earnings goals for fiscal year 2015 that we set at the beginning of the year,” said President and CEO John Schaefer. “Our revenue increase of 10.6%, modest gross margin expansion, and adjusted net income growth of over 22% in fiscal year 2015 compared to fiscal year 2014 reflect our ability to execute, despite a choppy overall retail environment combined with weather headwinds and continued competition in many of our markets.”

Schaefer contends the company’s fourth quarter and full year performance demonstrated the strength of a business model focused on everyday low pricing, best-in-class customer service and a flexible store layout that offers the company an ability to profitably operate in both smaller and larger markets.

The strategy was evident in the fourth quarter when the addition of new selling space and a 4% same store sales increase for the period ended Jan. 30, enabled the company to grow sales by 14.6% to $212.7 million. Full year sales increased 10.6% to $730 million and same store sales increased 1.1%.

Fourth quarter net income, adjusted to exclude non-recurring litigation and loan refinancing costs, increased 25.3% to $11.4 million, or 27 cents a share, from $9.1 million, or 22 cents a share, in the fourth quarter the prior year. Full year adjusted net income, which also excludes expenses related to a secondary stock offering in the third quarter of 2015, increased 22.3% to $25.8 million, or 61 cents a share, from $21.1 million, or 50 cents a share.

Despite the company’s solid performance in 2015 and commitment to open 11 stores this year, Schaefer said the company is planning conservatively for the first quarter and full year. First quarter same store sales are expect to be flat or decline in the low single digits while full year comps are projected to be flat to up 2%.

“Despite the continued momentum we have seen in the use categories of hunting, fishing and camping, we believe it is prudent to take a conservative posture when planning 2016, as we expect the unseasonably warm weather to continue to negatively impact our clothing and footwear categories through the first half of the year,” Schaefer said. “In 2016, we remain focused on growing our store base while maintaining disciplined cost management and responsible capital allocation.”

The company believes its full year sales will range from $800 million to $820 million.

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