Quick-What do Hibbett and Wal-Mart have in common other than owning small-town markets?

The two, along with Costco and Kohl’s, are the ONLY retailers in the chart on the following page that reported positive same-store sales growth for January against a positive number for the same period last year AND saw total year comps increase for the past two years. No red in their respective lines.

Hibbett Sporting Goods reported a 5.9% gain in January and a 2.4% increase for the retailer’s fourth quarter. The increase is against a double-digit gain in January last year and a 7.4% gain in last year’s Q4. HIBB saw total fourth quarter sales climb 12.0% to $75.5 million, after opening 16 new stores and closing one.

CEO Mickey Newsome indicated in early January that improved footwear sales were led by basketball and classic-oriented styles, while college and pro-licensed products drove the apparel category. The equipment category was once again soft.

Total fiscal year 2003 comps increased 3.9% against a 2.7% gain in the previous year. HIBB finished the year with $279.2 million in total sales, up 15.8% against total sales in fiscal 2002. Hibbett expects to open approximately 65 new stores in fiscal 2004.

Wal-Mart, which has seen comp store gains narrow in the last few months, increased January comps 2.3% on top of the 8.3% increase last January. Total year same-store sales gained 5.0% on top of the 6.1% increase in the previous year. WMT ended the year with $244.5 billion-yes, that’s BILLION-in total sales.

Kohl’s has also seen its comp gains narrow in recent months, but still added 5.5% to its comp store sales on top of the impressive 11.5% increase last year.

KSS finished 2002 with $9.1 billion in sales, up 21.8%.

Galyan’s did pull out a total year same-store sales gain for 2002, reporting a 0.5% increase, but came up short in the fourth quarter with a 1.4% decrease in comps. This is the second Q4 in a row that GLYN reported a comp store decline (-3.8% last year), but posted the total year gain against a strong 14.4% increase in 2001. Total fourth quarter sales were up 21.4%.

The specialty-store-within-a-store retailer reported that increased Q4 comparable store sales in athletic footwear & apparel, ski equipment, rugged apparel and accessories were more than offset by softness in casual apparel, brown shoes and camping categories.

GLYN closed the year with just under $600 million in sales, up 23.9% over 2001.

Foot Locker, Inc. reported that fourth quarter same-store sales declined 0.9% against a 2.1% gain in the year-ago quarter.

Total quarterly sales improved 4.9% to $1.2 billion, or 2.6% on a currency-neutral basis. It would be expected that the quarter’s comp store decline would also be much deeper if the currency fluctuation were taken into account.

Z saw total year sales increase 4.2% (3.0% currency-neutral) to $4.5 billion. Comparable store sales increased 0.1% on top of a 4.9% increase last year. Currency-neutral figures were not available for comps.

Results were positively impacted by continued strength of its European and direct-to-customer businesses.

Pacific Sunwear again led all retail we track, reporting a staggering 20.4% increase in January comp store sales. The retailer’s PacSun nameplate saw same-store sales increase 18.7% and its d.e.m.o. group up 32.8%. Total sales for the four weeks of January were $43.7 million, an increase of 38% over January 2001.

PSUN same-store sales increased 15.6% for Q4 and total sales increased 27.9% to $265.6 million.

Total sales for fiscal 2002 were $846.4 million, an increase of 23.6% over fiscal 2001. Square footage growth was 14%. Company same-store sales increased 9.7% for 2002 with PacSun comp sales up 9.4% and d.e.m.o. same-store sales up 12.4%.

The Buckle also saw January comps increase, reporting a 4.3% gain for the month. Total sales increased 6.9% to $21.5 million. Net sales for the year increased 3.5% to $401.0 million with comp store sales down 0.5%.

The family footwear retailers fared much worse in January and the year, reversing trends from last year.

Famous Footwear sales for January were down 3.2% to $57.7 million, while same-store sales for the period decreased 6.1%. FF’s parent, Brown Shoe Company did report that improved margins here helped improve total company earnings expectations.

Fourth quarter sales were essentially flat at $242.3 million compared to $241.5 million last year, and were down 2.9% on a comp store basis. Sales for the 52-week fiscal year were up 2.9% to $1.075 billion. Same-store sales for the year were down 1.3%.

Shoe Carnival saw January comp store sales drop 10.4%, almost reversing a year-ago gain of 12.9%. Total sales for the month decreased 1.4% to $28.4 million. The retailer reported that athletic footwear sales suffered due to colder weather and that strong boot sales in late 2002 led to reduced inventories.

Lower January clearance sales this year are expected to improve margins, enabling SCVL to meet earnings expectations.

Sales for fiscal 2002 increased 9.0% to $519.7 million. Comparable store sales decreased 0.4% for the year.