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Hibbett Sports Q4 profit up; 50 to 55 new stores on tap for 2011

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Hibbett Sports Inc. said Friday that its fiscal fourth-quarter net income climbed 6% on higher sales. The sporting goods retailer also predicts its fiscal 2012 earnings will be in line with Wall Street's view.

Hibbett Sports reported net income of $12.5 million for the period ended Jan. 29, up from $11.8 million a year earlier, better than Wall Street expected.

Revenue rose 4% to $173.2 million from $166.8 million, but fell short of Wall Street's estimate of $174.2 million. Same-store sales rose 1.2%.

Full-year earnings climbed 43% to $46.4 million, from $32.5 million in the prior year.

Annual revenue increased 12% to $665 million from $593.5 million. Same-store sales rose 9.8%.

Hibbett Sports had 798 stores in 26 states as of Jan. 29. It plans to open 50 to 55 new stores, close 10 to 15 stores and expand approximately 15 high performing stores in fiscal 2012.

Commenting on the results Jeff Rosenthal, president and CEO, stated, "While sales in January were impacted by a delay in income tax rapid refunds, as well as a series of snowstorms causing widespread store closings in many of our markets, we continued to benefit from the underlying strength in our business. Fourth quarter earnings per dilutive share were 10% higher than fiscal 2010 and we achieved record earnings for the year. Our sales trends continue to be strong in the first quarter, as our performance has improved significantly.”

For fiscal 2012, the company is expecting earnings per diluted share to be in the range of $1.70 to $1.90 and an increase in comparable-store sales in the low to mid single-digit range.

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