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Big 5 (BGFV) Q1 Earnings Miss, Q2 View Weak, Stock Down

Shares of Big 5 Sporting Goods Corp. BGFV plunged 9.9% in after-hours trading yesterday after the company reported dismal results for the first quarter of 2016. Adjusted loss of 2 cents per share missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 1 cent. The company had reported adjusted earnings of 14 cents in the prior-year quarter.

Including one-time items, the company incurred net loss per share of 5 cents in the first quarter of 2016. The company had earned 11 cents per share in the prior-year quarter.

Also, net sales of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company fell 3.7% to $234.5 million and missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $236 million. As noted already, sales comparisons for the quarter were impacted by a calendar shift which led 2016 to start a week later than 2015, as well as a shift in the Easter holiday store closing to the first quarter this year against the second quarter last year. These shifts lowered the company’s first-quarter earnings by $3.9 million.

Comparable store sales (comps) for the quarter declined 1.9%, meeting the lower end of management’s expectations. Though the aforementioned calendar shifts did not meaningfully impact comps, a low single-digit decline in customer transactions slightly compensated by a low single-digit rise in average transaction size led to the fall.

Going by the comps trend during the quarter, January was the strongest month with a high single-digit increase in comps that gained strength from a favorable winter season across most Western regions. However, comps for February and March were down mid single digits as the weather turned warmer in mid February weighing on the winter products sales while sales of non-winter products had not yet picked up.

Looking at product categories, while the apparel and footwear businesses performed well, the hardgoods category remained muted.

Also, merchandise margins declined nearly 86 basis points (bps) from the year-ago period owing to the calendar shifts along with increased promotional activity in order to drive traffic in a challenging environment.

Apart from the general challenges in the retail sector, the sporting goods industry is facing additional challenges due to the bankruptcy proceedings of peers Sports Authority and Sport Chalet. This has heightened promotional activities in the industry as everyone is keen on increasing traffic to gain more business.

Costs & Margins

Gross profit came in at $71 million, down 7.4% from the comparable year-ago level. Moreover, gross profit margin contracted 120 bps to 30.3% in the first quarter of 2016 due to lower merchandise margins.

Selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses, as a percentage of sales, fell 60 bps to 30.4%. On a dollar basis, SG&A expenses decreased 1.8% to $71.2 million due to increased costs related to legal settlement and a proxy contest in 2015.

Consequently, the company reported an operating loss of $0.3 million in the reported quarter. In the year-ago quarter the company had reported operating income of $4.2 million.

Financial Position

Big 5 Sporting had cash of $6.4 million, long-term debt of $56.6 million, and total shareholders’ equity of $194.7 million as of Apr 3, 2016.

During the quarter, the company’s operating cash flows totaled $9.6 million. Capital expenditure in the quarter totaled $3.2 million, excluding non-cash acquisitions.

For 2016, the company currently anticipates capital expenditures, excluding non-cash acquisitions, in the range of $15–$19 million.

Dividend

The company declared a quarterly cash dividend of 12.5 cents, payable on Jun 15, 2016, to shareholders on record as of Jun 1.

Store Update

During the quarter, Big 5 Sporting shut down four stores, one of which was part of its ongoing relocation plan, taking the total store count to 434 as at quarter end.

During the second quarter, the company plans to open two now stores, while shutting down one. For 2016, the company targets opening nearly 5–8 new stores, while closing 10.

Outlook

After all the challenges faced in the first quarter, the company revealed that the second quarter has started on a soft note as stepped-up promotional activity due to the ongoing competitor liquidation sales continue to plague the markets. Though the challenges are expected to stay over the near term, the company remains focused on cost control and inventory management to hold on to its strong financial status and well positioned to make the most of the consolidation taking place in the sporting goods industry.

For the second quarter of 2016, the company expects comps in the negative low single-digit to flat range. Also, the company envisions the bottom line to range between break-even and 6 cents per share. Further, the company anticipates second-quarter sales to gain nearly $7 million from the calendar shift from 53 weeks in 2015 that will result in pre-fourth of July holiday sales moving into the second quarter this year compared with the third quarter last year. Also, the company’s second-quarter sales will gain from a similar shift of the Easter holiday, when stores remain closed, to the first quarter this year compared with second quarter last year.

Stocks to Consider

Some better-ranked stocks in the same industry include ULTA Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance Inc. ULTA and Marinemax Inc. HZO each with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), and Tractor Supply Company TSCO, with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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