Outdoor financials: Deckers to acquire Sanuk; plus Hibbet 1Q earnings up; Liberty bids for Barnes & Noble

Deckers plans to acquire beach and surf footwear brand Sanuk. Hibbett Sports reports higher first-quarter revenue and profit. Plus, could Liberty's bid for Barnes & Noble have any effect on Backcountry.com?

Deckers Outdoor Corp. (Nasdaq: DECK) said it plans to acquire beach and surf footwear brand Sanuk for $120 million, plus additional payments based on performance in the next five years.

The deal for the flip flop, beach and surf sandal maker includes certain assets and liabilities of Sanuk U.S.A. LLC and of C. & C. Partners Ltd., the exclusive licensee for the Sanuk brand in the United States, Europe and Canada. The combined businesses generated more $43 million in net sales in 2010.

The deal is expected to close in the third quarter 2011. Sanuk will remain headquartered in Orange County, Calif. And its senior management will continue to manage the brand.

In a statement, Deckers President, Chairman and CEO Angel Martinez said Sanuk will provide “substantial growth opportunities, particularly within the action sports market where it has a large and loyal customer base of active outdoor enthusiasts.”

Sanuk, which means 'fun' in Thai, was founded in 1997 by Jeff Kelley, whose first product was a sandal made of green indoor-outdoor carpet. The footwear is available in more than 1,700 surf/action, outdoor, specialty and large chain retailers in 40 countries.

Hibbett 1Q revenue, profit up

Hibbett Sports Inc. (Nasdaq: HIBB) posted higher revenue and profit for its fiscal first quarter 2012, led by good sales in activewear and footwear.

The Birmingham, Ala.-based sports, outdoor and fitness retailer reported fiscal first-quarter revenue up 10.4 percent to $203.7 million for the 13 weeks ended April 30, 2011, compared to 184.5 million during the same period a year ago. Comparable store sales increased 6.8 percent.

Hibbett’s quarterly income rose 23.1 percent to $21.3 million, compared with $17.3 million for the same period a year ago.

During the quarter, Hibbett opened eight new stores, expanded four high-performing stores and closed seven underperforming stores bringing the store base to 799 in 26 states as of April 30, 2011. For its fiscal 2012, the company expects to open approximately 50 to 55 new stores, close 10 to 15 stores and expand 15 high performing stores.

Looking ahead, Hibbett increased its earnings guidance for its fiscal 2012 to a range of $1.80 to $1.95 per diluted share. The company also increased its comparable store sales projections to the low to mid single digit range.

Liberty Media bids for Barnes & Noble

Liberty Media Corp., the parent company of outdoor retailer Backcountry.com, along with QVC and SiriusXM satellite radio, made a bid to purchase Barnes & Noble for $1.02 billion.

Barnes & Noble, the largest U.S. bookstore with 720 locations, put itself up for sale in August 2010, facing declining sales in its stores as readers shifted online and to e-books.

Wall Street analysts suspect Liberty is interested in Barnes & Noble’s digital e-book business and technologies, but it will be interesting to see what a diversified online and TV retailer does with a collection of brick and motor stores. Could we one day see Backcountry.com and QVC products available at Barnes & Noble stores for purchase or pickup?

--David Clucas

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