Hibbett Sports 3Q same-store sales up 6.4 percent

The consensus is in — the third quarter 2012 was a good one for national outdoor and fitness retail chains. Will the all-important fourth quarter holiday season follow suit?
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The consensus is in — the third quarter 2012 was a good one for national outdoor and fitness retail chains.

Hibbett Sports (Nasdaq:HIBB) joined the party Friday, reporting its third-quarter same-store sales up 6.4 percent on strong back-to-school, apparel and footwear sales. It’s peers Dick’s Sporting Goods, Big Five Sporting Goods and Sport Chalet all reported their quarterly same-store sales up between 5 and 6 percent earlier this month.

Including 13 new stores, four expansions and two closings during the third quarter, Hibbett’s overall sales rose 9.6 percent to $202.9 million. The Birmingham, Ala.-based retailer now has 848 stores in 26 states.

Hibbett’s quarterly net income came in at $19 million, or 71 cents per diluted share, versus a net income of 16 million, or 59 cents per diluted share, a year ago.

“The back-to-school season, particularly in August, was as strong as we had anticipated,” said Hibbett president and CEO Jeff Rosenthal in the Nov. 16 earnings release. “The positive trends in apparel and footwear, along with our continued focus on local assortments and exceptional inventory control, resulted in significant margin expansion. We are well positioned to maintain this positive momentum during the upcoming holiday season.”

Retailers clearly benefitted from a strong and long spring and summer selling season where temperatures remained warm through much of the country.

While seemingly upbeat for the fourth quarter, retailers now head into the all-important holiday shopping season with uncertainties on if the cold and snowy weather will return and how Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast affected sales. Also looming is consumer unease surrounding pending government spending cuts and tax increases, otherwise known as the fiscal cliff.

--David Clucas

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