Hibbett Shares Soar On Solid Q3 Earnings & Raised Guidance

Hibbett Sports Inc.’s stock had climbed more than 20 percent at press time after the company posted 18 percent earnings-per-share growth and a 5 percent increase in net sales.

President and CEO Jeff Rosenthal said he was “encouraged” by the firm’s progress in Q3, although weather continues to pose headwinds.

“We were very pleased with our back-to-school sales, our margin performance and expense controls, and are encouraged by the great progress we are making with our merchandising initiatives,” Rosenthal said during the firm’s conference call. “Sales softened late in the quarter due to significant declines in our colder-weather categories, although footwear remained strong due to benefits from a strong assortment and an improved in-stock position.”

Previewing the fourth quarter, Rosenthal noted that sales to date were “disappointing,” as they had declined at a double-digit rate.

“Continuing headwinds from weather, as well as the difficult launch comparison, had impacted our results. We expect, as the quarter progresses, our ongoing improvements and merchandising strategies, execution and replenishment capabilities will impact our results positively,” the CEO added.

Net Income: Net income for the third quarter, ending Oct. 31, 2015, totaled $18.7 million compared with $16.9 million in 2014, a 10.7 percent improvement.

EPS: Earnings per diluted share advanced 18 percent to 79 cents, including the positive impact of 5 cents per diluted share resulting from a legal settlement, compared with diluted EPS of 67 cents in the same year-ago quarter.

Net Revenue: Net sales increased 4.6 percent to $228.3 million compared with $218.3 million in the same period of 2014.

Hit, Miss or Beat: Hibbett’s Q3 performance was mixed against estimates. Analysts polled by Yahoo Finance had predicted revenue of $233.4 million and EPS of 68 cents.

Looking Ahead: Hibbett raised its guidance for the fiscal year. Diluted EPS is expected to be in the range of $2.87 to $2.94 from a previously reported range of $2.80 to $2.90. Comparable store sales are expected to be close to flat for the year, which compares to previous guidance of flat to a low-single-digit increase.

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