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Hibbett Sports Smashes Earnings Expectations on Strong Sneaker Sales

Hilary George-Parkin

It’s not all gloom and doom in the retail world this week: On Friday, Hibbett Sports delivered a strong first-quarter earnings report, boosting its stock price by an impressive 22% as of 9:35 a.m. ET.

The Birmingham, Ala.-based athletic chain posted quarterly earnings of $1.61 per share, beating Wall Street’s forecast of $1.29 per share. Its net sales shot up 25% to $343.3 million for the three months ended May 4, well ahead of the consensus estimate of $326.1 million.

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Same-store sales likewise showed momentum, up 5.1% year over year. The retailer — which operates more than 1,100 stores under the Hibbett Sports and City Gear banners — credited robust sales of sneakers and sneaker-connected clothing and accessories for the significant growth.

Hibbett’s stores are mostly located in small and midsize markets in the South, Southwest, mid-Atlantic and Midwest. In March, it announced plans to shutter 95 stores to adapt to “changing shopping patterns.” It will also open 10 to 15 new locations between Hibbett and City Gear, which it acquired in October.

“We are moving forward with our plan to close our most unproductive stores,” said Hibbett president and CEO Jeff Rosenthal, who last quarter announced plans to retire once the company finds a successor. “Our City Gear integration is progressing as planned, and we are encouraged by the improved inventory position. Looking ahead, we are committed to the fundamentals of presenting a differentiated customer experience, building best-in-class teams and driving exceptional execution in all parts of the business.”

City Gear contributed net sales of $59.4 million for the quarter.

Rosenthal also pointed to improvements in online sales — which comprise 8.3% of the company’s total sales. “Our first-quarter results reflect improved performance in both the store and e-commerce channels,” he said. “We believe our improved web traffic and mobile app, along with continued traction in buy online, pick up in-store, are translating to traffic in our stores and online.”

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