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Earnings preview: What to look for when Hibbett Sports posts Q1 2020 results

Hibbett Sports Inc. (HIBB) is slated to report its earnings results for the first quarter of 2020 on Friday before the market opens. The results will be benefited by comparable store sales growth that will not include sales from City Gear. The athletic-inspired fashion retailer is seeing significant improvement in web traffic and good traction with Buy Online, Pickup in Store (BOPIS) and improvements to its mobile app.

Hibbett Sports continues to improve the productivity of its store base by closing unproductive stores and positioning the City Gear banner to drive sales for the fashion consumer. The omnichannel efforts, including store rationalization and e-commerce capabilities, could be beneficial for the quarterly performance.

The company remained focused on expanding its customer base with its improving e-commerce penetration and expanding loyalty program. Hibbett expects to expand to more than 1,500 stores in underserved markets. The company is focusing on increasing store productivity and reinforcing the omnichannel business with an intention to accelerate its store closure plan.

Hibbett Sports Q1 2020 earnings preview
Image Courtesy: Hibbett Sports

In fiscal 2020, the company has decided to shut roughly 95 Hibbett stores and open 10-15 Hibbett and City Gear stores. Despite the recent purchase of privately held peer City Gear, the company boasted a net cash position, low goodwill and nominal debt for the fourth quarter. Investors believed this to be an added advantage in reporting positive results for the first quarter.

Analysts expect the company’s earnings to jump by 17.90% to $1.32 per share and revenue will climb by 18.70% to $326.1 million for the first quarter. In comparison, during the previous year quarter, Hibbett Sports posted a profit of $1.12 per share on revenue of $274.71 million.

The company has surprised investors by beating analysts’ expectations only once in the past four quarters, while missing consensus for the rest three times. Traders expect Hibbett Sports to post downbeat results for the first quarter. Majority of the analysts recommended a “hold” rating while expecting the stock to reach $21.88 per share in the next 52 weeks.

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For the fourth quarter, Hibbett Sports posted a 32% plunge in earnings due to higher costs and expenses. Net sales grew 14.7% as comparable store sales increased by 3.8%. E-commerce sales represented 10.6% of total sales for the fourth quarter.

For fiscal 2020, the company expects earnings in the range of $1.50 to $1.70 per share and adjusted earnings in the range of $1.80 to $2.00 per share. Comparable store sales are anticipated to be between down 1% and up 1%. Gross margin is predicted to be in the range of 25 to 45 basis points. Capital expenditures are anticipated to be about $18 million to $22 million.

During the fourth quarter release, the company announced the planned retirement of Jeff Rosenthal as President and Chief Executive Officer. Rosenthal will remain at the company in his CEO capacity until a successor is named. On April 26, the company announced today that Christine Skold is temporarily joining as Interim CFO, succeeding Scott Bowman, whose resignation was announced on April 5.

Shares of Hibbett Sports opened lower on Wednesday and is trading in the red territory on the Nasdaq. The stock has fallen over 30% in the past year while it has risen over 12% in the past three months.

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