Hibbett Stock Explodes on Q4 Sales & Profit Wins; CEO Jeff Rosenthal to Retire

Shares for Hibbett Sports are jumping at market open after the firm posted fourth-quarter results that topped expectations across the board. As of 9:35 a.m. ET, the stock was in the green nearly 22 percent to $21.96.

The athletic specialty retailer said its sales during the period ended Feb. 2 increased nearly 15 percent to $306 million, blowing past analysts’ expectations for sales of $283 million. Comparable sales advanced 3.8 percent, besting market watchers’ forecasts for flat comps over the year-earlier period.

Adjusted profits, at $10.5 million, or 57 cents per share, handily topped estimates of 39 cents per share. (Reported profits were $6.6 million, or 36 cents per share, compared with $9.7 million, or 51 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.)

“We are quite pleased with the fourth-quarter results, which were driven by significant progress on our strategic initiatives along with compelling assortments from our key vendors,” said president and CEO Jeff Rosenthal, who announced today his retirement from the firm after 9 years in the top post.

Rosenthal, who will continue in his role until the company names a successor, touted Hibbett’s omnichannel initiative as among the bright spots in Q4 — noting that online sales increased 60 percent to 10.6 percent of total sales in the quarter.

“We are seeing significant improvement in web traffic and good traction with buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) and improvements to our mobile app,” he said. “At the same time, we continue to improve the productivity of our store base by closing unproductive stores and positioning the City Gear banner to drive sales for the fashion consumer.” (Hibbett announced its plans to acquire City Gear in October. It said it snapped up 136 City Gear stores in Q4.)

Overall, Hibbett’s fiscal 2019 net sales improved 4.2 percent to $1 billion, with adjusted profits of $33.3 million, or $1.77 per diluted share.

Looking ahead, Hibbett predicts fiscal 2020 earnings per diluted share in the range of $1.50 to $1.70, which includes 25 cents to 35 cents per diluted share for nonrecurring costs associated with the integration of City Gear, and costs associated with store closures. Excluding those costs, earnings per diluted share are expected to be in the range of $1.80 to $2. The company predicts comparable store sales in the range of down 1 percent to up 1 percent.

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