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Big 5 experiences unfavorable winter weather

13
Jan '10
Big 5 Sporting Goods Corporation, a leading sporting goods retailer, today reported sales results for the fiscal 2009 fourth quarter and full year ended January 3, 2010.

For the fiscal 2009 fourth quarter, net sales were $237.6 million, compared to net sales of $219.6 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008. Same store sales increased 0.1% for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009. The Company's merchandise margins increased 88 basis points during the fourth quarter compared to the same period last year.

For the fiscal 2009 full year, net sales increased $30.8 million, or 3.6%, to $895.5 million from $864.7 million for the fiscal 2008 full year. Same store sales decreased 0.6% for the fiscal 2009 full year.

As a result of the fiscal year calendar, the fiscal 2009 fourth quarter included 14 weeks and the fiscal 2009 full year included 53 weeks, compared to 13 weeks and 52 weeks for the respective reporting periods in the prior year. For purposes of reporting same store sales comparisons to the prior year, the Company uses comparable 14-week and 53-week periods.

For the fiscal 2009 fourth quarter, the Company expects to realize earnings per diluted share in the range of $0.28 to $0.30, which is within the Company's previously issued guidance range and compares to earnings per diluted share in the prior year period of $0.17. Updated earnings guidance for the fiscal 2009 fourth quarter includes a net nonrecurring pre-tax charge of approximately $0.9 million, or $0.03 per diluted share, which reflects the establishment of a reserve for a previously disclosed lawsuit, offset by the proceeds received from the settlement of a class action lawsuit relating to credit card fees.

For the fiscal 2009 full year, the Company expects to realize earnings per diluted share in the range of $1.00 to $1.02, which is an increase of over 50% compared to earnings per diluted share of $0.64 in the prior year. Updated earnings guidance for the fiscal 2009 full year includes the net nonrecurring pre-tax charge of approximately $0.9 million, or $0.03 per diluted share, relating to legal matters.

"We are pleased to deliver our third consecutive quarter of positive same store sales growth together with a substantial earnings increase over the prior year," said Steven G. Miller, the Company's Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. "Although our fourth quarter sales were slightly softer than plan, our merchandise margins exceeded our expectations, increasing 88 basis points for the quarter. We experienced strength in our hard goods and footwear categories, which comped positively in the low single digit range for the quarter. The primary factor in our softer than expected sales was the performance of our winter product categories, which comped negatively in the high single digit range for the quarter as most of our markets experienced unfavorable winter weather comparisons to the prior year. This led to ourapparel category, which is heavily influenced by the sale of winter products, being down mid-single digits for the quarter."


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