Weak winter hurts Big 5’s 4Q results

Outdoor, fitness and sporting goods retailer Big 5 blamed warmer winter temperatures and a lack of snow for a 2.1 percent decrease in same-store sales for the fourth quarter 2011.
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Outdoor, fitness and sporting goods retailer Big 5 (Nasdaq:BGFV) blamed warmer winter temperatures and a lack of snow for a 2.1 percent decrease in same-store sales for the fourth quarter 2011.

The national retailer’s fourth-quarter revenue came in unchanged at $226.7 million, while it swung to a quarterly loss of $9,000, or zero cents per diluted share, versus a gain of $4 million, or 18 cents per diluted share, a year ago.

For the full 2011 year, Big 5 reported a 1.2 percent decline in same-store sales. Its annual revenue rose less than a percentage point to $902.1 million, as the retailer added 8 new stores during the year for a total of 406. Net income for 2011 was cut in half, falling to an $11.7 million profit, or 53 cents per diluted share, versus a profit of $20.6 million, or 94 cents per diluted share, a year ago.

Looking ahead to the first quarter 2012, company officials forecasted continued struggles with same-store sales in the negative low single-digit range and earnings coming in at a range of flat to 6 cents per diluted share.

“This guidance reflects anticipated continued pressure on merchandise margins reflecting the impacts of product cost inflation and increased promotional activities, as well as a product sales mix shift away from higher margin winter product categories due to unfavorable winter weather conditions,” officials said.

Big 5's lackluster performance echoed fellow national outdoor, fitness and sporting goods retailer Sport Chalet, which also blamed the weak winter for lower fourth-quarter sales, and investors expect the same story for Dick's Sporting Goods and Hibbett Sports, which will report their results March 6 and 9, respectively.

--David Clucas

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