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By
Reuters
Published
Jan 27, 2010
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Dick's Sporting raises fourth quarter earnings outlook

By
Reuters
Published
Jan 27, 2010

By Viraj Nair

BANGALORE, Jan 27 (Reuters) - Dick's Sporting Goods Inc (DKS.N) raised its fourth-quarter earnings projection, boosted by stronger-than-expected holiday season sales.



The sporting goods retailer now expects to earn at least 54 cents a share, up from its previous estimate of 41 cents to 46 cents a share.

Analysts on average were looking for a profit of 49 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

"I think they benefit from having more active products. And also being off-mall, for the most part, helps Dick's because it's much more convenient to the consumers," Sterne, Agee and Leach analyst Sam Poser said.

Dick's Sporting had earlier expected an earnings drag from promotional activity in southern California and a shift of cold-weather product sales into the third quarter.

However, when they issued the prior outlook the company was running same-store sales at a negative double-digit pace since mid-October, a trend that began to improve in the final week of November, Chief Executive Edward Stack said in a statement.

Same-store sales are now projected to increase about 2 percent, whereas they were previously expected to decline 6 percent to 4 percent.

"We saw an improvement in same-store sales, which continued and strengthened through the holidays," CEO Stack said.

Stack said the better-than-expected comparable sales were seen across all major categories for the retailer.

Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Christopher Svezia said investors already sensed that December was a good month and "as the stock broke the $25-level, some of the upside got priced in."

Earlier this month, California-based rival Big 5 Sporting Goods Corp (BGFV.O) cut the upper end of its fourth-quarter earnings outlook, hurt by weaker-than-expected sales of its winter products.

Analyst Svezia expects a strong holiday quarter for most sporting goods retailers and said Big Five is "an exception" as they are facing difficult comparisons from last year.

In 2010, Dick's expects earnings per share to be greater than current 2009 expectations of at least $1.17 per share, excluding items.

Dick's Sporting, which sells equipment, apparel and footwear, is also benefiting from its expansion to North-Western American markets.

"The new store in Portland was absolutely gorgeous ... you can see why people shop there," said Sterne analyst Poser.

Shares of the Pittsburgh-based company were trading flat at $23.50 Wednesday (27 January) morning on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Viraj Nair; Editing by Unnikrishnan Nair)

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