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Hibbett Sports 4Q profit exceeds expectations

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- Hibbett Sports Inc.'s fourth-quarter net income jumped 22 percent as sales improved at its growing base of sporting goods stores.

The Birmingham, Ala.-based company reported Friday that it earned $19.4 million, or 73 cents per share, for the quarter that ended Feb. 2. That is compared with $15.8 million, or 59 cents per share, a year earlier. It got a boost from an extra week in the most recent period.

Hibbett's total revenue increased 14 percent to $217.4 million from $190.7 million.

Analysts polled by FactSet, on average, were expecting the company to earn 70 cents per share on revenue of $215.6 million.

Hibbett's revenue from stores open at least a year increased 4.9 percent on a comparable 13-week to 13-week period. This is considered a key indicator of financial performance as it strips away the impact of recently opened or closed stores.

The company opened 27 new stores, expanded four stores and closed two underperforming stores during the quarter, ending the period with 873 stores. It expects to open 65 to 70 new stores for the current fiscal year, expand 18 high-performing stores and close up to 20 sites.

For the full year, the company earned $72.6 million, or $2.72 per share, on revenue of $818.7 million.

Hibbett forecast earnings between $2.85 and $3.05 for the year; analysts had forecast earnings of $3 per share.

Shares of the company jumped 6 percent, or $3.22, to $56.85 in midday trading on the strong earnings for the quarter and solid forecast. Its shares are approaching the high end of its 52-week trading range of $49.78 to $63.39.