Fitness financials: Cybex's 14 percent sales growth for year led by Arc Trainer, plus Big 5, Play It Again Sports, Sport Chalet, Hibbett, Foot Locker, Costco

Fitness financials: Cybex's '04 sales growth led by huge Arc Trainer sales. Big 5 reports preliminary '04 numbers amidst accounting error. Winmark revenue down for FY2004. Same-store sales boost Sport Chalet's 3Q. Hibbett 4Q and FY2004 sales set company records. Foot Locker 4Q sales increase 15.1 percent. Costco Jan. sales dinged by accounting snafu.
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Cybex's 14 percent sales growth for the year led by huge Arc Trainer sales
A 14 percent sales growth for the 2004 fiscal year was boosted by a 47 percent sales increase in the company's Arc Trainer. Total sales for the year were $103.02 million compared to $90.2 million for 2003, with sales outside North America adding up to just under 30 percent for the year for an increase of 16.5 percent.

"Cybex had a great ending to 2004," said CEO John Aglialoro in the company's Feb. 10 earnings call with analysts. "We are on the offense. We are growing and building again."

For the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2004, the company (AMEX: CYB) net sales were $29.8 million versus $26.6 million for the comparable 2003 period, an increase of 12 percent, of which the Arc Trainer accounted for 62 percent. Net income for the quarter was $1.6 million, or $0.10 per share on a fully diluted basis, compared to net income of $796,000, or $0.08 per share on a fully diluted basis, for the fourth quarter of 2003. The net income for the year was $3.22 million, or $0.24 per fully diluted share, compared to a net loss of $1.76 million, or a loss of $0.23 per fully diluted share, for 2003.

Gross profit was up 2 percent to 36 percent for the year, but down in the fourth quarter (to 34.5 percent from 36.6 percent), attributed mostly to the rising cost of steel.

"2004 is now over and we are turning our attention to 2005," Aglialoro said.

For 2005, Cybex has big plans, according to Aglialoro's comments on the call. The company will:

>> begin to ship the virtual play/fitness Trazer product by the end of the second quarter.
>> introduce a cordless Arc Trainer in the second half of the year.
>> re-establish its dealer network with the start of its re-entry into consumer products by the end of 2005. It may show some products at the Club Industry show. It is slated to include a retail version of the Arc Trainer, a bike, a multi-gym with a smaller footprint, and some treadmills, including two for the vertical market.
>> strengthen its commercial pricing so it is more aggressive and more competitive.
>> build a relationship with a European plant to be able to cut costs to customers outside North America.

Big 5 reports preliminary '04 numbers amidst accounting error
Big 5 Sporting Goods (Nasdaq: BGFV) reported preliminary financial results for Q4 and FY 2004 after detecting an error in its accounts payable that could cost it $4.7 million. It is restating financial statements for 2001, 2002 and 2003 due to problems with one of its accounts. The restatement is expected to reduce net income by $1.2 million in 2001, $2.1 million in 2002, and $1.4 million in 2003.

The company said that restatement of earnings will not have an impact on its sales or assets, and it anticipates a refund or credit of about $3.2 million due to over-payment of income taxes during the restated periods.

"While our prior fiscal year 2004 full-year and fourth-quarter guidance was impacted by 6 cents per share, these accounting adjustments do not affect the company's underlying business or business prospects," said Charles Kirk, Big 5's senior vice president and CFO. "We have corrected our internal controls associated with these accounting adjustments."

For the fourth quarter ending Jan. 2, 2005, net sales increased by $25.8 million, or 13.4 percent, to $217.6 million from $191.8 million 2003. On a comparative 13-week basis for both fiscal 2004 and 2003, net sales increased 6 percent and same store sales increased 2.6 percent. Net income for the 2004 fourth quarter increased to $11.6 million, or $0.51 per diluted share, compared with net income, as preliminarily restated, of $8.6 million, or $0.37 per diluted share, in the same period last year.

For fiscal 2004, net sales increased by $69.2 million, or 9.8 percent, to $778.9 million from $709.7 million in 2003. On a comparative 52-week basis for both fiscal 2004 and 2003, net sales increased 7.8 percent and same store sales increased 3.5 percent. Net income for fiscal 2004 increased to $34.2 million, or $1.50 per diluted share, compared with net income for fiscal 2003, as preliminarily restated, of $24.9 million, or $1.10 per diluted share.

Big 5 opened 11 new stores in 2004, bringing its year-end store count to 309 versus 293 at the end of fiscal 2003.

Winmark revenue down for FY2004
Winmark Corp. (Nasdaq: WINA), the franchise developer that operates Play It Again Sports, reported a lower net income for 4Q 2004 of $980,100, or $.15 per share diluted, compared to Q4 2003's net income of $1.03 million, or $.16 per share diluted. Net income for the fiscal year ended Dec. 25, 2004, was $4.08 million, or $.63 per share diluted, compared to 2003's $4.01 million, or $.63 per share. Revenues for the year were $27.2 million, down from $31.2 million in 2003. The company said the decrease was a result of start-up expenses. Winmark ended the year with 792 franchise and retail stores, of which 412 were Play It Again Sports.

Same-store sales boost Sport Chalet's 3Q
Eight new stores and high store sales helped Sport Chalet (Nasdaq: SPCH) increase its third-quarter sales 20.3 percent from $79.7 million for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2003, to $95.9 million for the same quarter this year. Same-store sales increased 6.8 percent. Its gross profit margin decreased slightly from 32.6 percent for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2003, to 32.5 percent for the same quarter this year. Selling, general and administrative expenses, as a percentage of sales, went down to 25.7 percent from 2003's 26.1 percent. The retailer said it was a result of the efficiencies created by the increase in same-store sales and reduced workers' compensation expense partially offset by the costs associated with new stores. Net income increased $714,000, or 23.2 percent, from $3.1 million, or $0.44 per diluted share, in the third quarter last year to $3.8 million, or $0.53 per diluted share, for the same quarter this year. Sport Chalet is also focusing on expansion into Arizona with three stores planned for Phoenix, Chandler and Scottsdale.

Hibbett 4Q and FY2004 sales set company records
Hibbett Sporting Goods (NasdaqNM: HIBB) reported that net sales for the 13-week period ended Jan. 29, 2005, increased 17.5 percent to $107.2 million, marking the first time the retailer has reported quarterly sales over the $100 million mark. It also reported fourth-quarter sales of $91.2 million, while same-store sales increased 5.2 percent. For FY2004, net sales increased 17.7 percent to $377.6 million, a new company record, compared with last year's $321.0 million. 2004 same-store sales for the year increased 5.7 percent.

For the fourth quarter, Hibbett opened 14 new stores. For the year, it opened 54 stores, bringing the total to 482 stores in 22 states. Hibbett expects to open a net of approximately 70 new stores in fiscal 2006.

Foot Locker 4Q sales increase 15.1 percent
Foot Locker (NYSE: FL) reported sales for the 13-week period ended Jan. 29, 2005, of $1,535 million, versus $1,334 million in the comparable period last year, an increase of 15.1 percent. For this same 13-week period, comparable store sales increased 2.5 percent. For fiscal year 2004, sales increased 12.0 percent to $5,355 million, from $4,779 million last year. Comparable-store sales for the full year increased 0.9 percent. Excluding the effect of foreign currency fluctuations, total sales for the 13-week and 52-week periods increased 12.9 percent and 9.8 percent, respectively.

Costco Jan. sales dinged by accounting snafu
Costco Wholesale (NasdaqNM: COST) reported total January sales increased 7 percent to $3.67 billion. Also for January, U.S. same-store sales rose 3 percent and international sales rose 12 percent. International sales, however, were up only 6 percent on a constant currency basis. Costco said net sales were hurt by an accounting change that took effect in February 2004. If the accounting change had been applied to year-ago sales, January reported net sales would have risen 8 percent and same-store sales would have increased 6 percent.

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