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Same Store sales up at Big 5 Sporting
May '10
Big 5 Sporting Goods Corporation, a leading sporting goods retailer, reported financial results for the first quarter ended April 4, 2010.

For the fiscal 2010 first quarter, net sales increased to $218.5 million from net sales of $210.3 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2009. Same store sales increased 2.4% versus the comparable period last year, representing the Company's fourth consecutive quarterly increase in same store sales. As anticipated, first quarter sales were negatively affected by a shift in the timing of the Easter holiday, during which the Company's stores are closed, into the first quarter from the second quarter last year.

Gross profit for the fiscal 2010 first quarter increased to $71.6 million from $67.1 million in the first quarter of the prior year. The Company's gross profit margin improved to 32.7% in the fiscal 2010 first quarter versus 31.9% in the first quarter of the prior year. The increase in gross profit margin was driven primarily by an increase in merchandise margins of approximately 15 basis points and increased sales leverage on distribution and store occupancy costs.

Selling and administrative expense as a percentage of net sales decreased to 28.8% in the fiscal 2010 first quarter versus 29.4% in the first quarter of the prior year. The Company leveraged selling and administrative costs through higher sales. Overall selling and administrative expense increased $1.2 million during the quarter from the same period last year due mainly to the increase in store count.

Net income for the first quarter of fiscal 2010 improved to $5.0 million, or $0.23 per diluted share, from net income of $2.8 million, or $0.13 per diluted share, for the first quarter of fiscal 2009.

"We are pleased to have significantly improved both our top and bottom lines during the first quarter of fiscal 2010," said Steven G. Miller, the Company's Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. "We achieved earnings per share at the high end of our guidance range for the quarter, driven by growth in customer traffic and average sale and expansion of merchandise and operating margins. Our same store sales growth of 2.4% represented our strongest quarterly same store growth since the fourth quarter of 2006, as favorable winter weather conditions in many of our markets led to sales increases across our three major merchandise categories of apparel, footwear and hardgoods. Additionally, our strong cash flow enabled us to continue to reduce debt levels, and we ended the quarter with $46 million in debt compared to $55 million at the end of 2009 and $77 million at the end of the first quarter of 2009."

Mr. Miller continued, "We believe we are well positioned to grow same store sales again during the second quarter of fiscal 2010. While the economic environment in our markets remains challenging, we remain confident in our overall strategy and believe our focus on providing compelling values to our customers will continue to serve our business well."

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