Big 5 Sporting Goods at 6601 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048, USA.

Big 5 Sporting Goods at 6601 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048, USA. Photo by Ringo Chiu.

Big 5 Sporting Goods Corp. delivered the results it had expected for the first quarter despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic that forced the temporary closure of about half of its stores during the last 10 days of March.

The El Segundo-based retailer reported net sales of $217.7 million, an 11.3% decrease, compared to $245.3 million for the first quarter of 2019. The company also posted a quarterly net loss of $4.6 million, or 22 cents per share, compared to net income of $1.7 million a year earlier.

“Our earnings performance for the quarter was within the guidance range we originally provided in late February and subsequently withdrew due to the uncertainties surrounding Covid-19,” President and Chief Executive Steven Miller said in a statement.

“Many of the states, counties and cities in which we operate recognized our stores as essential, and we were able to remain open or reopen many of our stores. We were able to quickly implement new operational protocols so our stores could operate in accordance with evolving social distancing guidelines,” he added.

Big 5, founded in 1955, sells private-label and name-brand athletic shoes, apparel, and equipment for sports, fitness, camping, hunting and fishing, sourced from some 700 vendors.

The company operates 431 stores, a 1.1-million-square-foot distribution center in Riverside and a 12,000-square-foot distribution hub in Oregon. It employs 8,700 full- and part-time workers, including Miller, a founder’s son who took over the company in 2002.

Still fearing uncertainty around the Covid-19 pandemic, Miller declined to provide guidance for the second quarter that ends June 28, but the company’s current stats look promising.

“April was a challenging month … with a large portion of our stores temporarily closed as well as the suspension of youth baseball and other recreational activities, but we have been experiencing significant improvement in sales on a weekly basis in May as many of our stores reopen and consumers seek activities that fit within social distancing guidelines,” Miller said.

“Our business is in a solid financial position, reinforced by additional capital resources from our credit facility, a disciplined expense reduction strategy, accelerating inventory turns, and anticipated positive operating cash flow through the first two months of the fiscal second quarter,” he added.

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