(By Balachander) Hibbett Sports Inc. (NASDAQ: HIBB) boosted its guidance yet again after the company posted higher quarterly earnings on growth in sales and expansion of margins. Results topped market expectations.
Earnings increased to $19.0 million or $0.71 per share for the three months ended Oct. 27 from $16.0 million or $0.59 per share in the third quarter of last year.
Net sales rose 9.6 percent to $203 million. Comparable store sales went up 6.4 percent for the third quarter on strong back-to-school sales.
Wall Street analysts, on average, expected HIBB to earn 68 cents a share on sales growth of 8.90 percent.
Gross margin improved to 37.2 percent from 36.6 percent.
Looking ahead for the full year, the company now expects EPS in the range of $2.66 to $2.71 from prior expectations of $2.57 to $2.67, while analysts expect $2.69. HIBB continues to forecast comparable store sales growth in the mid single digit range.
As of Oct. 27, the company's store base was 848 in 26 states.
HIBB shares, which have been trading in the 52-week range between $41.64 and $63.39, closed Thursday's trading at $54.98.