Hibbett Sports Inc. issued preliminary financial results for its fourth quarter and full year ended Jan. 30 that showed comparable sales for the three months increased 21.9 percent, surpassing previous guidance of an increase in the high-single digits to low-double digits.
The retailer said momentum from the third quarter was sustained throughout the period, both in-store and online, as better-than-anticipated holiday volume and incremental stimulus were major contributors to the strong sales performance. Full-year comparable sales increased 22.2 percent.
Fourth quarter and adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) are expected in the range of $1.30 to $1.40 compared to the previously targeted range of $1.00 to $1.10, mainly driven by the sales lift. Full year diluted EPS is projected to be in the range of $4.30 to $4.40 and adjusted diluted EPS is expected in the range of $6.05 to $6.15.
Hibbett plans to formally report its fourth quarter and full year financial results before the market opens on March 5.
“By continuing to execute on our commitment to provide a compelling merchandise assortment through superior customer service and a best-in-class omnichannel platform, we exceeded our previously disclosed outlook for the fourth quarter,” Mike Longo, president and CEO, said. “New customer retention, the ability to effectively manage available in-demand footwear, apparel and accessories, and incremental stimulus payments contributed to the strong performance in the quarter.”
Hibbett Sports said while it is difficult to forecast future results due to the challenges posed by the ongoing pandemic and uncertainty regarding the business environment, further stimulus payments and potential labor and tax legislation, it was providing limited guidance regarding its initial outlook for fiscal 2022 that ends Jan. 29, 2022.
The company said it believed it attracted new customers to stores and its omnichannel platform due to pent-up demand, market disruption and government stimulus payments.
“Many of these new customers made repeat purchases,” Hibbett said. “We expect to continue to attract and retain new customers during fiscal 2022. Accelerating consumer adoption of e-commerce, which we believe is likely a permanent change, will continue to benefit our omni-channel business.”
In addition, the company said its strong vendor relationships will allow it to meet customer demand for fashion-inspired athletic footwear, apparel and accessories, both in-store and online. Other initiatives include net low double digit store unit growth per brand, an improved in-store experience resulting from a store refresh program, increased speed to market via supply chain enhancements and an improved focus on its sales culture.
Hibbett forecast comparable sales ranging from negative low-single digits to positive low-single digits for fiscal 2022 in comparison to fiscal 2021, and diluted EPS in the range of $5.00 to $5.50, assuming an effective tax rate of approximately 25 percent and a weighted average diluted share count of approximately 17 million.
Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., Hibbett Sports operates 1,067 stores under the Hibbett Sports and City Gear brands, primarily located in small and mid-sized communities.