Dick's Sporting Goods
Dick's third-quarter net sales rose by 9.3% from the year-earlier quarter, to almost $1.2 billion, mainly on the back of 4.1% growth in consolidated same-store sales and additional sales from 19 newly opened stores.
The company's gross margins went up by 126 basis points, to 29.7%, mainly because of better inventory management and a change in the product mix.
Selling and administration expenses rang in at $274.4 million. Earnings before interest and taxes was up by 89%, to $71.6 million, and EBIT margins were up by a significant 340 basis points, to 6.1%. The company's net income followed suit and soared by an amazing 146%, to $41.5 million, although it was slightly offset by higher taxes. This sort of performance will surely turn up the heat for competitors like Cabela's
Alongside a great set of numbers, Dick's has also steadily built upon its balance sheet, effectively tripling its cash and equivalents from the previous year's figure, to a total of $483.4 million. Dick's plans to make good use of this, which leads to yet another reason for investors to cheer: dividends.
Dick's management decided to pay a dividend for the very first time, starting with an annual cash dividend of $0.50, which would be paid on Dec. 28. The company also announced that it would pay quarterly dividends for the year 2012, subject to board approval in each case. CEO Ed Stack said Dick's great cash position and cash flow outlook would enable it to further invest in profitable opportunities, as well as allow it to reward shareholders in the form of cash dividends.
Home improvement retailer Home Depot
A look at the dividend yields of these companies shows us that Dick's Sporting Goods has a much lower yield than peers Wal-Mart and Home Depot, but its dividend has room to grow.
|Dick's Sporting Goods||$0.50||1.30%|
Source: Yahoo! Finance. Data as of Nov. 21.
Spreading its wings
Economic uncertainties failed to deter Dick's store expansion plans, as it opened new stores at a rate of 8% in the current year. The company also expects to step up the pace with more new store openings next year. For the longer term, Dick's aims at opening more than 400 additional stores over the next several years, taking the total store count to a minimum of 900 in the United States.
Besides its expansion on the storefront, Dick's is also focusing on expanding its online e-commerce division, which currently forms a really small part of its total business. The company is aiming to enhance its content as well as improve profitability and sales. According to the CEO, Dick's is progressing steadily on this front and expects the e-commerce division to start contributing much more to its results by 2013. With strong brands such as Nike
The Foolish bottom line
So far, the company has pushed up its sales and its profits, which is great news. However, economic concerns, high unemployment levels, and an increasing number of tight-fisted consumers are reasons for concern. With the holiday season rolling in, Dick's will probably have a big fourth quarter. I feel cautiously optimistic for the medium term.
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