Hibbett's 1Q Misses as Weather Dampens Sales

Hibbett Sports (NYSE:HIBB) said Friday its fiscal first-quarter earnings slipped 0.6%, missing expectations amid higher costs that overshadowed slight growth in same-store sales.

The sporting-goods retailer operates stores mainly in the South, Southwest, mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions. Profit has climbed in recent years as a result of the company’s focus on smaller markets to avoid big competitors.

In the latest period, extended cold weather dampened sales as spring sports kicked off, the company said.

“The colder weather clearly affected the performance of some key spring assortments, especially against last year’s strong sales performance,” President and Chief Executive Jeff Rosenthal said in a statement. “Looking forward, we are well positioned for the summer and back-to-school sales periods given our improved aged inventory position, product assortments and excellent customer service.”

Hibbett’s first-quarter profit fell to $26.2 million from $26.4 million in the year-ago period. On a per-share basis, earnings rose to $1 from 98 on fewer outstanding shares. Sales rose 3% to $240 million.

Wall Street was expecting per-share earnings of $1.07 and sales of $246 million.

Same-store sales edged up 0.8%, while analysts were looking for 2.3% growth.

Gross margin narrowed to 37.9% from 38%, as input, distribution center and store occupancy costs rose 3.2%.

Shares closed Thursday at $60.38. The stock has risen 14.5% over the last 12 months.