Dick's Sporting Goods earnings lower than analysts' expectations

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Dick's Sporting Goods' results were lower than analysts' expectations in the holiday quarter, despite a 12 percent increase in total sales and a profit increase over the previous year.

A warm December, followed by a colder, snowier January and February, didn't help, the company said.

The Findlay retailer this morning reported profit of $129.7 million, or $1.03 per share, during the three months ended Feb. 2. That was up over $111.1 million, or 88 cents per share, during the same period last year.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial had been looking for $1.06 per share.

Total sales for the period of $1.8 billion, up over $1.6 billion last year, were driven by the opening of additional stores and a 1.2 percent increase in sales at stores open at least a year, as well as an additional week of sales during this year's fourth quarter.

Chairman and CEO Edward W. Stack said athletic shoes and apparel sales did well, as did hunting gear.

"These increases were partially offset by lower-than-anticipated sales in outerwear and cold weather accessories, as well as a significant decline in the fitness category," he said in a prepared statement.

"As a result of the unusually warm weather conditions, including during peak selling periods in December, we significantly reduced our inventory levels of cold weather merchandise to align with lower consumer demand and avoid carrying over excess inventory after a second year in a row of warm weather," he said.

Last year's winter was a mild one.

"While this was a prudent move that enabled us to effectively manage inventory and protect our margins, it did limit our ability to capture sales in January when temperatures dropped and snowfall increased," Mr. Stack said.

For the full fiscal year, Dick's posted profit of $290.7 million, or $2.31 per share, compared to $263.9 million, or $2.10 per share, the previous year. Net sales rose 12 percent to $5.8 billion, driven by a 4.3 percent gain in sales at established stores and continued growth in the company's store chain.

Dick's is anticipating earnings per share of $2.84 to $2.86 in the next fiscal year. Analysts had been looking for $2.92 per share.

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


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