Dick’s Earnings and Sales Blast Past Forecasts, Names New CEO

Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. earnings blew past forecasts as the coronavirus pandemic continued to drive more outdoor and fitness gear sales. It also announced a planned leadership succession that will see its current president become CEO.

Today, the Coraopolis, Penn.-based company announced that its board of directors unanimously elected president Lauren Hobart to the post of CEO, effective Feb. 1. The move is part of a long-term succession plan that will see current executive chief Edward Stack assume the role of executive chairman while continuing on as chief merchant.

“This is the perfect time for this transition. We have the best management team in the company’s history, and the investments we have made in our people, our stores, and our communities are paying off,” Stack said in a statement. “I look forward to continuing to lead merchandising, product development and several strategic growth initiatives while supporting Lauren as a trusted advisor. She has proven herself to be a capable, innovative and respected leader who has helped drive our business and our culture.”

The announcement came the same day Dick’s posted another stronger-than-anticipated quarter: For the three months ended Oct. 31, it logged profits of $182.2 million, or earnings of $2.01 per share, compared with the prior year’s profits of $44.8 million, or earnings of 52 cents per share. Analysts had bet on earnings of $1.01 per share. Revenues also increased 22.9% to $2.41 billion, while market watchers predicted $2.23 billion.

Sales, according to the retailer, were driven by a 23.2% gain in same-store sales, including a 95% hike in its e-commerce business. (Online penetration for the period was roughly 21% of total net sales, versus the previous year’s 13%.)

“The strength of our diverse category portfolio once again helped us capitalize on the favorable shifts in consumer demand, as the positive trends across golf, outdoor activities, home fitness and active lifestyle continued throughout Q3,” Stack explained.

Hobart touted Dick’s brick-and-mortar fleet, whose comps improved double digits. The company’s stores, she added, fulfilled about 70% of online sales and approximately 90% of total sales growth in the quarter, whether it was a purchase at the register, picked up curbside or delivered through its ship-from-store service.

“Our stores continue to be the hub of our industry-leading omnichannel platform and were the key to our unprecedented third quarter growth,” she said. “Data science and technology will continue to play an important role in creating a personalized, one-to-one relationship with our athletes, enabling us to serve them in the most convenient way possible.”

According to the company, the favorable trends have continued into the fourth quarter. It shared, however, that sales have been partially offset by warmer weather that has negatively impacted business in its cold-weather categories. Still, through the first three weeks of Q4, it reported comps that have risen in the high teens. It opted against providing an outlook for the fiscal year due to COVID-19-related uncertainties.

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