We keep hearing that Americans are increasingly lazy, but it's hard to reconcile that with the fact that there are a lot of places selling a lot of sporting goods. Not only do you have focused retailers including Dick's (NYSE:DKS), Sports Authority, and Cabela's, but you have big-box retailers such as Wal-Mart and a whole host of online and catalog-based retailers as well.

But even though this is a crowded field, one company has carved out an interesting niche. I'm speaking of Hibbett Sporting Goods (NASDAQ:HIBB), and its niche is selling branded gear from companies such as Nike (NYSE:NKE), Under Armour (NASDAQ:UARM), and K-Swiss (NASDAQ:KSWS) in smaller communities, where there isn't as much store-based competition.

How well the program is working is, I suppose, a matter of perspective. I think plenty of people would look at this quarter's 13% revenue growth, 19% operating income growth, and 26% per-share earnings growth and think things are going pretty well.

On the other hand, comp-sales growth of 2.5% doesn't exactly set a lot of retail investors' hearts on fire. It's also equally fair to point out that the stock isn't really cheap by any logical basis of comparison. Unless, that is, you wanna take a semi-loony tack and compare Hibbett to "fast-growing niche retailers" like Chico's (NYSE:CHS) and Coldwater Creek or something. Yeah, I know it sounds silly to compare a sporting-goods retailer to some clothing retailers, but I've seen an analyst try to do exactly that.

I'm more than willing to acknowledge that Hibbett has a good plan, good growth, and very good returns on capital. And I'm also happy to admit that many traditional valuation approaches don't work well with smallish growth stocks. Be that as it may, I just don't see enough value at these prices to get wildly excited about the stock.

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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).