Big 5 Sporting Goods officials: Wintersports sales rebounding in 1Q

Better late than never. With healthy doses of winter weather finally showing up this season throughout much of the United States, Big 5 Sporting Goods hinted at stronger results to start 2013 as it reported positive earnings figures to close 2012.
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Better late than never. With healthy doses of winter weather finally showing up this season throughout much of the United States, Big 5 Sporting Goods hinted at stronger results to start 2013 as it reported positive earnings figures to close 2012.

The weak first half of winter didn’t help the national outdoor, fitness and sporting goods retailer in the fourth quarter 2012, but a jump in firearms sales (as government officials debate gun control) more than made up for it.

Big 5 same-store sales rose 6.5 percent for the fourth quarter, the largest increase in more than a decade, officials said. Total fourth-quarter sales (with eight store openings, one relocation and one closing) increased 7.5 percent to $243.6 million. Net income for the fourth quarter came in at $4 million versus a loss of $9,000 a year ago.

An uptick in wintersports sales should be reflected ahead in the first quarter 2013, officials said.

"We have continued to enjoy very healthy sales during the first quarter of fiscal 2013 to date, as we have benefitted from favorable winter weather conditions in many of our markets and the continued increase in demand for firearms and ammunition products,” Big 5 CEO Steven Miller said in a statement with the Feb. 26. earnings release.

For the full-year 2012, Big 5 reported a 2.5 percent increase in same-store sales. Total sales (including store openings, relocations and closings) rose 4.3 percent to 940.5 million. Net income for the year increased to $14.9 million, versus $11.7 million a year ago.

For 2013, company officials anticipate opening approximately 15 to 20 new Big 5 stores, including three relocations.

The late winter weather should help retailers to start 2013, while most wintersports manufacturers likely will have to wait longer to see the benefits as retailers work through previous high inventories before reordering. See our prior stories on the cycle here and here.

To see Big 5's complete fourth-quarter 2012 earnings report, click here.

--David Clucas

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