Fitness financials: Bally hires new auditor, plus Dick's, Foot Locker, Saucony, Brunswick, Hibbett, Kmart

Fitness financials: Bally hires new auditor. Q1 reports for Dick's, Foot Locker, Hibbett, Kmart. Brunswick debt offering. Saucony cash dividend.

Bally hires new auditor
Bally Total Fitness Holding Corp. (NYSE:BFT) has selected KPMG LLP as the its new independent auditor, replacing Ernst & Young LLP. Paul Toback, chairman, CEO and president of Bally, said of the May 18 announcement, "KPMG's broad experience, particularly in the retail and consumer sector where Bally is focused, will be enormously valuable to us as we accelerate our drive to maximize the potential of our business."

Dick's reports high net income, but Q2 forecast drags it down
Dick's Sporting Goods' (NYSE: DKS) net income for the first quarter ended May 1, 2004, increased 64 percent to $10.9 million and earnings per share increased 50 percent to $0.21 per diluted share as compared to net income of $6.7 million and earnings per share of $0.14 per diluted share in 2003. Total sales for the quarter increased 20 percent to $364.2 million. Comparable store sales increased 4.6 percent.

During the first quarter, Dick's opened six new stores and had a total of 169 stores in 27 states by May 1. Four of the stores opened were in new markets (three in the Indianapolis, Ind., metropolitan area and one in Myrtle Beach, S.C.), while two were opened in existing markets: Niles, Ohio; and Plainville, Conn.

Second-quarter estimates project a net income between $16.8 million to $17.2 million. Comparable store sales are expected to increase 2 percent to 3 percent, with no new stores planned to open in Q2. Dick's said it expects second-quarter earnings per share of $0.32 to $0.33, below analyst's average estimate of $0.36. Subsequently, Dick's shares were down $1.23, or 4.6 percent, at $25.30 in morning New York Stock Exchange trade after falling as low as $24.65 earlier in the session. The company's stock was among the top percentage losers on the exchange May 18.

Foot Locker earnings up; being sued by Finish Line
Foot Locker Inc. (NYSE:FL) reported on May 19 that its quarterly net income increased as sales rose slightly and some costs fell. Its net income rose to $48 million, or 31 cents per share, for the fiscal first quarter ended May 1, 2004, compared with $38 million, or 26 cents per share, a year earlier.

In other company news, Finish Line has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis against Foot Locker alleging the retailer actively recruited Finish Line's store managers, regional managers and corporate officers to obtain secret sales information. These employees have access to confidential information, including sales projections, business plans and information about the profitability of individual Finish Line stores, the suit said. A Foot Locker spokesman said the company does not comment on pending lawsuits.

Hibbett reports in Q1 earnings plans to open 65 new stores
Retailer Hibbett Sporting Goods (NasdaqNM:HIBB) reported on May 20 its net sales for the 13-week period ended May 1, 2004, increased 21.3 percent to $96.5 million compared with 2003's $79.6 million. Comparable store sales increased 8.8 percent in the first quarter of fiscal 2005. Net income increased 53.4 percent to $8.1 million compared with $5.3 million last year. Earnings per diluted share increased 47.8 percent to $0.34 from $0.23 in the prior year. The retailer opened eight new stores and closed three stores during the first quarter, bringing the store base to 433. It plans to open 65 new stores this year.

Brunswick announces $150 million debt offering
Brunswick Corp. (NYSE: BC) announced May 21 the offering of $150 million aggregate principal amount of 5 percent notes due 2011 under a shelf registration statement previously filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company said it intends to use the net proceeds from the offering for general corporate purposes, including acquisitions and possible debt retirement.

Saucony board declares cash dividend
Saucony's (Nasdaq: SCNYA and SCNYB) board of directors declared regular quarterly cash dividends of $0.050 per share on the company's Class A Common Stock and $0.055 per share on the company's Class B Common Stock. The dividends will be paid on July 15 to all stockholders of record at the close of business on June 17. The company's corporate charter provides that cash dividends paid on the Class B Common Stock be in an amount equal to 110 percent of the amount paid on the company's Class A Common Stock.

Kmart posts second consecutive quarterly profit
Kmart Holding Corp. (NasdaqNM:KMRT) posted its second consecutive quarterly profit as it slashed costs and pared inventory, reducing clearance sales. The discount retailer, which emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last May, said it earned $93 million, or 94 cents per share, in the fiscal first quarter ended April 28. For last year's first quarter, Kmart reported a loss of $862 million while it was still in bankruptcy. Same-store sales fell 12.9 percent, which Kmart blamed the decline on special promotions last year that had boosted sales and reduced advertising this year.

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