Big 5 Sporting Goods had a lackluster fourth quarter despite saying that cold weather in its Western markets drove strong traffic during the holidays.
For the fourth quarter ended Jan. 3, the company reported that net sales were $275 million, compared to net sales of $250.3 million for the 13-week fourth quarter of fiscal 2014. Same-store sales increased 0.1%. For the full year, net sales were $1.03 billion, compared to net sales of $977.9 million for the 52-week fiscal 2014 full year. Same store sales increased 1.3% for the fiscal 2015 full year.
"We are pleased with our fourth quarter performance and ability to generate positive sales and maintain merchandise margins in a highly competitive and promotional retail environment,” said Steven G. Miller, the company's chairman, president and CEO. “While sales started off softly in October and November, sales were positive over the 'Black Friday' week and very strong for the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s as we benefitted from favorable winter weather conditions throughout most of our Western markets. Same-store sales in our apparel category increased in the high single-digit range and footwear sales increased in the low single-digit range for the period due to strong sales of winter-related products. Hardgoods sales decreased in the mid-single-digit range for the period. Customer transactions decreased in the low single-digit range and our average transaction size increased in the low single-digit range for the quarter. Additionally, we are pleased to have further strengthened our balance sheet at the end of 2015 as we effectively managed our inventory position, ending the quarter with preliminary per-store inventories down 2.9% from the prior year, and reduced borrowings under our credit facility by 17.3% year-over-year to $54.8 million at the end of fiscal 2015.”
For the fiscal 2015 fourth quarter, the company now expects to realize earnings per diluted share in the range of 18 to 19 cents, including 2 cents per diluted share of non-cash impairment and expenses related to evaluating store growth strategies and potential profit improvement opportunities. For the fiscal 2015 full year, the company now expects to realize earnings per diluted share in the range of 68 to 69 cents, including 6 cents per diluted share of charges for a legal settlement and expenses associated with the company's publicly disclosed proxy contest.
“Although we are only in the second week of the first quarter of fiscal 2016, we are very pleased with our start to the period, as sales continue to benefit from favorable weather conditions in many of our markets,” Miller added.
Big 5 is a sporting goods retailer in the western United States, operating 438 stores under the "Big 5 Sporting Goods" name as of the fiscal year ended Jan. 3.