Become an expert in less than five minutes: That's what a Motley Fool Cheat Sheet is all about. If you're new to Hibbett Sports (Nasdaq: HIBB), consider this your Foolish way to get introduced and in the know.

What it does:
Hibbett is a locally focused sporting goods retailer. The company runs small stores in small communities -- they specifically target counties where the population is between 30,000 and 100,000. This strategy has allowed the company to grow under the radar and away from the competitive eye of their big-box specialty sporting goods cousins such as Sports Authority.

Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the company operates a very tight "clustered expansion" growth strategy. Hibbett only moves into markets that are a two-hour driving distance from an existing location. This allows it to derive benefits from existing marketing awareness and distribution efficiencies. So far, the company has grown from 79 stores in 1996 to over 760 stores today.

How it stacks up:
Hibbett runs a very different type of operation from its major big-box competitors. The company prefers smaller stores with a home-team focus on local sports. They also don't attempt to be "destination spots" in and of themselves. Instead, Hibbett latches like a remora on to strip malls centered around Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) stores, often the social center of the less-than-bustling towns it targets.

Other competing sports concepts include the following:


Market Cap.

Total # of Stores

Average Store Size

Sales Per Sq. Ft. (2009)

Hibbett Sports

$733.7 M


5,000 sq. ft. 


Dick's Sporting Goods (NYSE: DKS)

$2.9 B


50,000 sq. ft 


Big 5 Sporting Goods (Nasdaq: BGFV)

$278.3 M


11,000 sq. ft


Sports Chalet (Nasdaq: SPCHB)

$33.1 M


41,000 sq. ft.


Source: Capital IQ; * Results are for trailing 12 months.

Why you should care:
How does 17% annual store growth over a 14-year period sound? Maps of Hibbett's stores look like the Blob sprouting from its headquarters in Birmingham and just oozing out until it reached Minnesota to the north and Nevada to the west. The growth potential for this company shouldn't be understated. It's found a sustainable and replicable model and it's taking over Smalltown, USA with it. The only question is: Are you with the Blob or are you against it?

Fast Facts:

Hibbett's Retail Store Formats:

  • Hibbett Sports – 747 stores; 5,000 sq. ft.
  • Sports Additions – 16 stores; 2,500 sq. ft.
  • Sports & Co. – 4 stores; 25,000 sq. ft.

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Fool analyst Sean Sun does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned. Wal-Mart Stores is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.