Don’t call it a comeback. Shares of Big 5 Sporting Goods Corp., which have been on a rollercoaster ride over the last year, rebounded last week as investors cheered quarterly results that beat analysts’ expectations.
The El Segundo retailer reported net income of $7.5 million (34 cents a share) for the quarter ended Sept. 30, down from $9.1 million (41 cents) the same period a year earlier. Revenue, however, was up 2 percent to $265 million. The results beat analysts’ consensus projection of revenue of $262 million and earnings of 26 cents a share on net income of $5.7 million.
The news helped drive shares up 20 percent to close at $12.03 for the week ended Oct. 29, landing Big 5 among the biggest gainers on the LABJ Stock Index. (See page 32.) The stock still remains 28 percent lower than it was a year ago.
Shares plummeted 21 percent in May, and at that time, Chief Executive Steven Miller attributed the fall to weak gun and ammunition sales. During an earnings call last week, he named a new hurdle: climate.
“We believe that our sales were meaningfully impacted by the ongoing severe drought that has taken an economic and recreational toll across much of our western markets, particularly California,” he said during the call. “Despite these headwinds, for the quarter, we experienced increases in both customer transactions and average sales versus the prior year.”
Sean McGowan, an analyst at Needham & Co. Inc. in New York, remains bullish, saying he “most fervently” recommends investors purchase shares of Big 5.
“Apparel is selling well, as it is for other sports retailers,” McGowan said. “Also, the negative effect of lower gun/ammo sales is decreasing, which allows the strong sales of other products to shine through.”
Big 5, which has opened four stores since July, now operates 429 locations in 12 Western states. It plans to add 10 stores before the end of the year.
Meantime, Miller said his company is gearing up for its key holiday season, which should bring a welcome boost to sales. Big 5 also launched an e-commerce platform last month, which allows shoppers to buy some of its products online.
“While we don’t expect e-commerce sales to be significant to our fourth quarter,” he said, “we are excited about this launch and the channel’s potential for the future.”
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