Shares in Big 5 Sporting Goods Corp. were flat after the company announced a 25 percent jump in profit along with increased sales.


Big 5 reported fourth quarter net income of $9.6 million (42 cents per share), up 25 percent from $7.7 million (34 cents) for the same period a year earlier, including a pre-tax charge of $2.3 million, or 6 cents per share. The earnings beat Wall Street estimates of 39 cents per share, according to a poll by Thompson Financial.


Sales for the El Segundo-based sporting goods retailer also grew 7 percent to $235 million, in line with analysts' estimates.


For the year, net income was up 11 percent to $30.8 million ($1.35 per share) while sales also gained 8 percent to $877 million.


The company also said it used cash from operations in the fourth quarter to pay the remaining $8.3 million balance on its higher interest term loan and reduced borrowings under its revolving credit facility.


Big 5 also declared a 9 cent per share cash dividend that is to be paid on March 15. For fiscal 2007, the company forecast same store sales growth in the low single digits with earnings per share of 30 to 33 cents.


Shares in Big 5 closed up 22 cents to $24.70 Thursday in trading on the Nasdaq and added another 5 cents in early trading Friday to $24.75.

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