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Academy Sports + Outdoors to open 80 to 100 stores during next five years

Academy Sports and Outdoors plans to open at least eight stores in 2022.
Texas-based Academy Sports+ Outdoors operates 259 stores across 16 contiguous states.

Academy Sports + Outdoors finished the year strong on its top and bottom lines, and posted its 16th consecutive quarter of positive comp sales.

The Texas-based sporting goods and outdoor recreational retailer, which has 259 stores in 16 states, told analysts during the earnings call that it will open its first new store in two years this April, in Conyers, Ga. Academy plans to open a total of eight stores and complete several store remodels in 2021. Looking further out, the company has set a goal of opening 80 to 100 stores during the next five years.

“We are excited and confident about the future,” Academy Sports chairman, president and CEO Ken Hicks said on the call. “We have established a strong retail foundation, by delivering record results. We have market momentum, and we are starting a new growth phase with the opening of our first new store, in two years next month.”

Academy’s sales per square foot in 2021 grew 19% to $370 per square foot, “which is higher than our closest competitors,” CFO Michael Mullican told analysts. He added that “100% of our stores are profitable and accretive earnings, which gives us great confidence in our growth potential.”

Academy posted net income of $141.8 million, or $1.57 per share, for the quarter ended Jan. 29, up from $91.5 million, or $0.97 per share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted earnings per share of $1.61 easily topped analysts' estimates of $1.37.

Sales rose 13.2% to $1.808 billion from $1.597 billion, also topping estimates.  E-commerce sales grew 22.7% compared to the prior-year quarter and 97.2% compared to the fourth quarter of 2019.

Comparable sales increased 13.1% on top of 16.1% in the fourth quarter of 2020, making it the 10th consecutive quarter of positive comparable sales.   Strong consumer demand for sports and outdoors products drove sales growth and led to an increase in total transactions and average ticket.

For fiscal 2021, net sales increased 19.1% to a record $6.77 billion. When compared to fiscal 2019, net sales increased 40.2%. E-commerce sales increased 6.2% compared to 2020 and increased 153.1% compared to 2019.

Comparable sales increased 18.9% on top of 16.1% in fiscal 2020. All four merchandise divisions and geographic regions posted double-digit sales growth for the year.

“2021 was an extraordinary year for Academy Sports + Outdoors,” stated Hicks. The team delivered the highest sales and profits in the company's history while navigating the many challenges faced by the company and the retail industry. We are proud of what our company has accomplished over the past three years, but even more excited about our future growth prospects. Academy is well-positioned for substantial long-term growth in its existing stores with our broad assortment of great products from the best national and quality private brands, excellent customer service, expanding omnichannel capabilities, and multiple new store openings in our current and new markets."

Based in Katy, Texas, Academy has grown to 259 stores across 16 contiguous states.

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