The news from California sporting goods retailer Sport Chalet
Before we get into the good news, however, it's worth looking closely at some figures that are less attractive: the company's same-store sales. The holiday quarter is the big one for Sport Chalet, yet comps this year managed only a 2.9% improvement. That's better than the 1% the 30-odd store chain managed in the first six months of the year -- and in line with competitors such as Sports Authority
That growth really is pretty solid, though. Year-to-date sales at Sport Chalet improved 8.4% to $195 million, and improved gross margins (caused by fewer markdowns) on top of those sales gains offset increased SG&A expense to drive a slight increase in net income. The holiday quarter numbers were better, as revenues improved more than 10% and net income jumped 18%.
The company, which prides itself on service, isn't slowing down. Historically a Southern California retailer, it has moved into Northern California -- where most of its 2004 growth is scheduled to go -- and Nevada. Profitable and with a respectable balance sheet, this superstore retailer continues to carve out a strong niche for itself in a competitive national marketplace that includes the aforementioned companies as well as the likes of Dick's
The same-store sales numbers indicate that business across the sector isn't exactly booming, but Sport Chalet is putting up a good fight for a little guy. Investors have noticed, and the shares have spiked in recent months.
If you've ever headed out west and hit a Sport Chalet, share your experience on our Sport Chalet discussion board.
Dave Marino-Nachison can be reached via email.