Academy Sports + Outdoors Reports Record Results

Academy Sports + Outdoors Inc., pointing to strong gains across all of its merchandise categories, reported that its fourth-quarter net income rose 416 percent to $91.5 million, or 97 cents per diluted share, from $17.7 million, or 24 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Comparable sales increased 16.1 percent in the fourth quarter ended Jan. 30, 2021, while net sales increased 16.6 percent to a record $1.6 billion. The company, which operates 259 stores, was particularly strong in the sports and recreation categories. Outdoor merchandise, apparel and footwear are also sold.

E-commerce sales grew 60.7 percent, led by an increase in website visits and the continued consumer adoption of buy online, pick up in store, ship-to-store and curbside pickup.

Gross profit increased 34.7 percent to $499.1 million. The gross margin rate increased 420 basis points to 31.2 percent. This increase was driven by higher merchandise margins, fewer promotions and a reduction in clearance sales.

Pro forma adjusted net income, which excludes the impact of certain noncash and extraordinary items, was $103.1 million, a 485.8 percent increase over the $17.6 million posted in the prior-year quarter. Pro forma diluted earnings per share were $1.09, compared to 23 cents per share in the year-ago quarter.

For 2021, the company projects comparable sales ranging from negative 2 percent to positive 2 percent; net income ranging from $265 million to $290 million, and earnings per diluted share of $2.70 to $2.95.

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“I am very proud of everything the Academy Sports + Outdoors team members achieved in 2020 as they faced substantial adversity and uncertainty due to the pandemic,” said Ken Hicks, chairman, president and chief executive officer of the Katy, Texas-based retailer. “With our outstanding team, strong balance sheet and by investing in our key initiatives, such as power merchandising and e-commerce capabilities, Academy is very well positioned to continue to drive top- and bottom-line growth for the long term as well as enhance shareholder value.”

For all of 2020, net income increased 157.2 percent to a record $308.8 million. Net sales increased 17.8 percent to a record $5.69 billion. Comparable sales increased 16.1 percent. Growth was led by a 138.3 percent increase in e-commerce sales and strong demand in the outdoor and sports and recreation categories.

Diluted EPS came to $3.79, versus $1.60 for fiscal 2019.

Fiscal 2020 pro forma adjusted net income was $311.7 million, a 310.7 percent increase over fiscal 2019 pro forma adjusted net income of $75.9 million. This resulted in pro forma adjusted diluted EPS of $3.83, compared to $1.02 in fiscal 2019.

As of the end of fiscal 2020, cash and cash equivalents totaled $377.6 million, compared to $149.4 million at the end of fiscal 2019.

The sports and outdoor sectors have been standouts during the pandemic. Also showing strong results was Dick’s Sporting Goods, which reported that in the fourth quarter, comparable-store sales increased 19.3 percent to $3.13 billion, which included a jump of 57 percent in e-commerce sales. The e-commerce penetration, which was aided by in-store and curbside pickup similar to Academy Sports + Outdoors, represents 32 percent of the total business, up from 25 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Like Academy Sports + Outdoors, Dick’s is projecting a bit of a slowdown this year. Fiscal 2021 sales are estimated to be $9.5 billion to $9.9 billion with same-store sales seen down 2 percent to up 2 percent.

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