What happened 

Shares of sporting goods retailer Hibbett Sports, Inc. (NASDAQ:HIBB) fell as much as 14.1% on Tuesday after the company released preliminary results for the fourth quarter. At noon EST shares were still down 12% on the day. 

So what

Management said fourth quarter sales increased 0.5% from a year ago to $246.9 million, but comparable store sales fell 2.2% over the same timeframe. Earnings are also expected to decline from $0.76 per share a year ago to between $0.53 and $0.55 per share. And fiscal 2018 guidance was set at $2.65 to $2.85 per share, assuming flat to low single digit same store sales growth. 

Pile of sporting goods equipment.

Image source: Getty Images.

To put these numbers in perspective, analysts were expecting $0.73 per share in earnings for the fourth quarter on $254.2 million in sales. And for fiscal 2018 the earnings expectations were $3.09 per share, so results will be well short of what analysts, and likely investors, had priced in. 

Now what

Retail competition that's hurt a lot of companies in the past few years is finally making its way to sporting goods. Hibbett is trying to adjust by focusing on building out e-commerce and "Store-to-Home" services but there's an uphill battle ahead. Hibbett's shares aren't terribly expensive at 10.6 times the midpoint of guidance, but given the headwinds ahead there may not be many growth catalysts for the stock going forward. 

Travis Hoium has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.