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Hibbett Sports scores big in Q1

Hibbett Sports delivered a strong first quarter performance, with earnings that crushed analyst’s estimates, amid strength in sneakers and related goods.

The Birmingham, Ala.-based chain reported net income of $27.4 million, or $1.48 per share, for the quarter ended May 4, up from $21.5 million, or $1.12 per share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted EPS was $1.61, easily topping the $1.32 analysts had expected.

Net sales rose 25% to $343.3 million (including $59.4 million for City Gear, which Hibbett acquired in October) from $274.7 million last year, ahead of the $327.0 million the Street forecast. E-commerce represented 8.3% of total sales for the first quarter.

Same-store sales rose 5.1%. Analysts had expected a 0.7% decline. Strength in footwear and sneaker-connected apparel & accessories continued to offset softer sales in licensed products and team sports, the company said.

"We believe our improved web traffic and mobile app, along with continued traction in buy online, pickup in-store, are translating to traffic in our stores and online," said Hibbett CEO Jeff Rosenthal.

Rosenthal said that the company is moving ahead with plans to close its most unproductive stores. (As previously reported, the company will close approximately 95 Hibbett stores in its current fiscal year.) It will also open 10 to 15 new locations.

For the quarter, Hibbett opened three new stores, rebranded two Hibbett locations to the City Gear banner, expanded one high-performing store and closed 24 underperforming stores bringing its store base to 1,144 in 35 states as of May 4, 2019.

“Our City Gear integration is progressing as planned and we are encouraged by the improved inventory position,” Rosenthal said. “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.”
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