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Sales trends in Q2 to-date remain challenging for Big 5
May '11
Big 5 Sporting Goods Corporation, a leading sporting goods retailer, reported financial results for the fiscal 2011 first quarter ended April 3, 2011.

For the fiscal 2011 first quarter, net sales were $221.1 million, compared to net sales of $218.5 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2010. Same store sales decreased 0.9% for the first quarter of 2011 versus the comparable period in the prior year. This compares to a same store sales increase of 2.4% in the first quarter of 2010. Sales results in fiscal 2011 reflect a benefit over the prior year from the calendar shift of the Easter holiday, during which the Company's stores are closed, out of the first quarter and into the second quarter this year.

Gross profit for the fiscal 2011 first quarter was $72.2 million, compared to $71.6 million in the first quarter of the prior year. The Company's gross profit margin was 32.6% in the fiscal 2011 first quarter versus 32.7% in the first quarter of the prior year. The slight gross profit margin decrease reflects an increase in store occupancy costs related to new store openings, partially offset by an increase in merchandise margins of 12 basis points.

Selling and administrative expense as a percentage of net sales was 30.4% in the fiscal 2011 first quarter versus 28.8% in the first quarter of the prior year. Overall selling and administrative expense increased $4.2 million during the quarter from the prior year due mainly to an increase in store-related expenses, which reflected a higher store count and increased employee benefit costs, as well as increased advertising expense.

Net income for the first quarter of fiscal 2011 was $2.8 million, or $0.13 per diluted share, compared to net income of $5.0 million, or $0.23 per diluted share, for the first quarter of fiscal 2010.

"Our sales results for the first quarter were at the lower end of our guidance range and reflect continued macroeconomic weakness in our markets," said Steven G. Miller, the Company's Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. "Sales were negatively impacted by a decrease in customer traffic, as we believe many of our consumers reduced purchases of discretionary items in response to the challenging economic environment, characterized by rising gas prices and high unemployment. Earnings were lower than our previous expectations primarily due to higher than anticipated expenses associated with employee benefits, including workers' compensation, health and welfare and California unemployment taxes."

Mr. Miller continued, "Sales trends in the second quarter to-date remain challenging as we believe that our consumer continues to be highly sensitive to the adverse economic conditions prevalent in our markets, which are concentrated in the western United States. We continue to look at all aspects of our business in order to drive sales and earnings. We are taking steps to further enhance our merchandise, pricing, and promotionalstrategies, while remaining focused on operating as efficiently as possible. We believe that our continued emphasis on improving the execution of our overall business model will enable us to weather the current environment and position us well when the consumer climate improves."

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