Hibbett Sports, Inc. reported net income in the fourth quarter fell 35.7% to $8.1 million, or 26 cents a share, from $12.6 million, or 39 cents, a year ago. Sales in the fourth quarter declined 5.5% to $142.8 million from $151.2 million a year ago, partly reflecting a 13-week quarter in the latest period versus 14 weeks a year earlier. Comparable store sales decreased 7.3% on a comparable 13-week period and decreased 4.7% on a fiscal basis. Hibbett also lowered its guidance for the current fiscal year due to difficult retail conditions.
For the fiscal year ended January 31, 2009, Hibbett expects to report earnings of $0.88 to $1.00 per diluted share with comparable store sales ranging between flat to negative 3%. In the year just ended, Hibbbet posted earnings of 98 cents a share on a diluted basis. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expect ed a profit of $1.08 per share.
Mickey Newsome, chairman and CEO, stated, “The fourth quarter was heavily influenced by generally unfavorable economic factors combined with the lack of new product trends. While sales thus far in Fiscal 2009 show improvement over our fourth quarter results, we are conservative with our guidance due to current economic conditions which are continuing to impact our customer's spending habits. Our focus remains on opening new stores in small markets where we are needed and leveraging the investments we have made in our systems and infrastructure.”
For the quarter, Hibbett opened 40 new stores and closed 2 stores. For the year, Hibbett opened 84 new stores and closed 9 stores, bringing the store base to 688 in 23 states as of February 2, 2008. For fiscal 2009, the Company plans to open approximately 87 stores and close approximately 10 stores.
Net sales for the 52-week fiscal year ended February 2, 2008, increased 1.7% to $520.7 million compared with $512.1 million for the 53-week period ended February 3, 2007. Comparable store sales decreased 2.9% on a comparable 52-week period of fiscal 2008 and decreased 3.1% on a fiscal basis. Net income for the 52-week fiscal year ended February 2, 2008, was $30.8 million compared with $38.1 million for the 53-week period ended February 3, 2007. Earnings per diluted share for the 52-week fiscal year were $0.98 compared with $1.17 for the 53-week period ended February 3, 2007.
Comparable store sales data on a fiscal basis reflects sales for our Hibbett Sports and Sports Additions stores open through the 13-week periods ended February 2, 2008 and January 27, 2007. Comparable store sales data on a calendar basis reflects sales for our Hibbett Sports and Sports Additions stores open through the 13-week periods ended February 2, 2008 and February 3, 2007. This timing shift can and did have a significant impact on quarterly sales comparisons.
Consistent with a growing number of publicly-held companies, the company has adopted a policy to provide annual rather than quarterly guidance. Effective with fiscal 2009, Hibbett will provide annual expectations for earnings per share, comparable store sales and store openings and closings. Hibbett will update that annual guidance each quarter.