The Birmingham, Ala.-based sporting goods retailer said its first-quarter earnings for 2016 climbed 2 percent, to $27.9 million, or $1.22 per diluted share, from $27.4 million, or $1.09 per diluted share in the comparable period. Market watchers had expected the firm to post diluted earnings per share of $1.20.
Net sales also improved, advancing 4.6 percent, to $282.1 million, from $269.8 million in the year-ago same period. Analysts had predicted net sales of $285.2 million. Comparable store sales also rose 1.1 percent in the quarter.
“During the quarter, we showed improved performance in our apparel assortment and believe that our strategy is gaining traction in this area,” Jeff Rosenthal, Hibbett president and CEO, said in a statement. “Footwear also posted positive results, driven by strong performance in our lifestyle category. We were also pleased with the increase in gross margin rate, driven by solid management of markdowns and promotions, while reducing inventory levels to be more in line with sales.”
The company maintained its full-year guidance and continues to expect diluted EPS in the range of $2.90 to $3.04 and comparable store sales in the low single-digit range.
At press time, Hibbett’s shares had climbed more than 8 percent, to $34.96.