Dick's sees wide open spaces for more Field and Stream stores

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Dick’s Sporting Goods, which has misfired on past efforts to find new expansion vehicles, is hooked on the potential in the Field & Stream store format that it debuted last August in Cranberry.

There are now two of the stores open, but the Findlay retailer plans to open eight more this year — one in the second quarter and seven in the third quarter. The new operation, which could be a solid contributor to the bottom line in a couple of years, has plenty of room to grow without bumping into rival outdoor chains Cabela’s and Bass Pro, said Edward W. Stack, Dick’s chairman and CEO.

“There’s still an awful lot of open areas out there where we can open and where they can open,” Mr. Stack said Tuesday during a conference call with analysts.

Dick’s is in a position to grow. The Findlay company reported a profit of $138.6 million, or $1.11 per share, for the three months ended Feb. 1. That compares to $129.7 million, or $1.03 per share, during the same period a year earlier.

Sales rose 7.9 percent to $1.9 billion last year, helped in part by the same winter weather that hurt so many other retailers. Dick's said sales of cold-weather related products and athletic apparel led the quarter's strong performance. 

For the full fiscal year, Dick’s reported a profit of $337.6 million, or $2.69 per share, compared to $290.7 million, or $2.31 per share, a year earlier.

Net sales rose 6.5 percent for the year to hit $6.2 billion. Sales at Dick’s Sporting Goods stores open at least a year rose 2.4 percent, while those at its Golf Galaxy sites fell 7.1 percent.

In addition to opening new Field & Stream stores, the company is planning to open about 50 Dick’s stores and one Golf Galaxy store.

Online sales accounted for more than 12 percent of the holiday quarter’s sales, but Mr. Stack said the company’s bricks-and-mortar stores are still important.

He cited a Forrester Research report that predicted by 2017, for every dollar that consumers spend online, they’ll spend nearly $5 in physical stores, and he noted that Dick’s customers who shop both in-store and online spend three times as much as customers who stick to one channel.

Mr. Stack also noted that the company lowered its per-unit shipping costs by nearly 10 percent in 2013, helped by shipping more goods and a program to ship goods from stores.

That program was in the news recently after Dick’s filed suit in a New Jersey court claiming the CEO of rival Modell’s Sporting Goods went to a Dick’s store and pretended to be a Dick's executive so he could learn proprietary details about the “ship from store” program.

One area in which Dick’s, and other sporting goods retailers, are seeing a big pullback is in sales of guns and ammunition. Mr. Stack noted that a year ago, sales in that category were surging following the Sandy Hook shootings that triggered calls for new restrictions on guns.

Looking ahead, Dick’s is projecting earnings per share for the coming fiscal year will be in the range of $3.03 to $3.08 per share.

The company shares closed at $56.67 on Tuesday, up $2.34 or 4.31 percent.

Teresa F. Lindeman: tlindeman@post-gazette.com or at 412-263-2018.

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