Shares of Hibbett Sports ( HIBB 1.41% ), a leading retailer of sporting goods and athletic apparel, jumped nearly 24% higher Friday morning after the company delivered an impressive third-quarter report at a time when a number of retailers are struggling.
It was a solid third quarter from just about any angle. Sales increased 27% to $275.5 million, easily topping analysts' estimates of $260.7 million. Adjusted earnings per share checked in at $0.32, also easily topping analysts' estimates of $0.15 per share. The strong results were driven by a number of factors, including a 10.7% increase in same-store sales and a 20-basis-point improvement in gross margins to reach 32.7%. Hibbett's 10.7% same-store sales increase was its strongest quarterly increase since the first quarter of fiscal 2013, and it was also its fourth consecutive quarter with positive comps. Another bright spot was Hibbett's e-commerce business, which again outperformed expectations and accounted for 10.5% of third-quarter sales. "This sales growth has been made possible by our team's execution of our strategic focus to lead with sneakers and connect toe-to-head concepts within our apparel and team sports businesses," said Jeff Rosenthal, president and chief executive officer, in a press release.
The icing on the cake for investors was management raising full-year fiscal 2020 guidance. Management now sees 2020 earnings per share between $2.30 and $2.50, higher than the previous range of $2.15 to $2.25 per share. Hibbett's also expects same-store sales to grow between 4% and 6%, much higher than the prior guidance of 1% to 2% growth. Hibbett's is one of few apparel retailers to check in with not only a strong third quarter but a strong 2019, and its stock price has responded with a 108% year-to-date gain -- although to be fair, it's still down 28% over the past three years. One thing is certain: Hibbett's heads into the critical holiday season with plenty of momentum.