Academy sports boosted by golf, soccer, football and grilling – WWD

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After a strong first quarter driven by apparel and footwear sales, Academy Sports + Outdoors Inc. is forecasting healthy 2021 back-to-school and vacation seasons and high single-digit sales for the entire year.

“Halfway through the first quarter of 2020, when COVID-19 was shutting everything down, the clothes and shoes really slowed down, but we got that back,” Ken Hicks, president and CEO of the Academy, told WWD. “The good news is that because we stayed open during the pandemic, we were able to understand what was selling and what was not, which allowed us to place the [right] orders for the first quarter.

In an interview on Tuesday, just after the company announced a flashback from a 39.1% first-quarter sales increase, Hicks said clothing and footwear were the two strongest categories in the period ended May 1, with an increase of 80% over last year. -There is a quarter and 38% above the 2019 quarter. Footwear is up 58% in the last quarter and 23% from the 2019 quarter.

Nike, Adidas, Under Armor, Columbia Sportswear and The North Face were strong selling brands in the last quarter, Hicks added.

Ken hicks

By category, sports and recreation increased by 36%, driven by the resumption of professional and college sports. Baseball was very strong, and golf has remained strong throughout the pandemic as it is more of a solitary sport, Hicks observed.

He also cited soccer equipment and racquet sports as being strong, as well as soccer equipment due to spring soccer and water sports. The outdoor kitchen and outdoor furniture performed well, and sales increased with global warming in the last quarter.

After installing home gyms last year, “People keep building them, buying more weights or a second piece of equipment,” Hicks said, adding, “The bikes have been strong, especially the bikes for kids. adults We have sold out all of our bikes, but they are back in stock now.

The Katy, Texas-based retailer reported net income of $ 177.8 million for the first quarter, compared to a loss of $ 10 million in the prior year period. Pro forma adjusted net income, which excludes the impact of certain non-cash and extraordinary items, increased from $ 400,000 to $ 182.5 million.

Net sales of $ 1.58 billion were a record first quarter for the company. Comparable sales increased 38.9%. Sales increased 46.8% compared to the first quarter of 2019.

It is clear that the Academy has benefited from the shift in consumer spending to the sports and outdoors categories, people who engage in hobbies during the pandemic home lifestyle, and its large, value-driven assortment, as well as stimulus checks issued by the government.

But it’s possible the company could have done even better without certain shortages of goods, which continue in some areas.

The sports of the Academy boosted by golf, football,

The presentation of fishing rods.

“For all durable goods, we don’t have all the presentation we want,” Hicks said. “We don’t have all the bikes we want. It’s the same with exercise equipment. The biggest shortages are in arms and ammunition. But clothing and footwear aren’t scarce, Hicks said, and the company is still generally happy with its inventory levels, but would have liked more in certain categories.

Heading into 2021, Hicks said there was a question whether consumers would stick to their chosen hobbies during the COVID-19 lifestyle at home. “It seems that for the most part they are.”

Hicks also discussed the strategies the Academy uses to maintain momentum. He said that in some categories the company was increasing its prices, including selling more expensive bats and balls and sleeping bags, including recently introducing the North Face sleeping bags at $ 100 when before, the offer centered on the $ 40 private label bags. $ 1,100 elliptical trainers are available, whereas previously the maximum price was $ 600.

“I’m feeling good for the start of the school year. We actually call it the return to sport, ”Hicks said.

For Academy, which operates 259 stores in 16 contiguous states, back to school begins in mid-July and ends in late August. The retailer operates stores that go as far north as Missouri, Kansas, southern Ohio and Indiana.

Hicks said no new stores are planned for this year, but eight to 10 are slated for 2022. None are slated for this year because the Academy team was unable to explore the sites there. last year as COVID-19 raged across the country.

The new Academy stores have updated formats, with a more open layout, better adjacencies and product distribution, and a lot more visuals, including fishing reel bars and supplier collaboration. on presentations, Hicks said. “If you browse our stores, we really showcase the merchandise and show the very best. “

The new stores are 62,000 square feet, compared to 70,000 in the old format. “We also developed a new 40,000 square foot model,” giving Academy more flexibility to expand its brick and mortar footprint, although the larger version is preferred.

The Academy plans to accelerate the store’s expansion with more openings in 2023 than in 2022, Hicks said.

He also cited improvements to academy.com, including the addition of ApplePay, improved and faster search capabilities, and more content, like explaining how to use a grill or buy a football helmet.

E-commerce sales fell 21% in the first quarter, with the website celebrating triple-digit growth in the first quarter of 2020, when consumers switched to online ordering at the start of the pandemic last year. In the past two years, e-commerce sales grew 300% in the first quarter.

Gross margin increased 89.2 percent to $ 563.7 million, the highest quarterly gross profit in company history. The gross margin rate increased 950 basis points to 35.7% mainly due to improved margins on merchandise through a favorable mix shift, higher average unit sales, fewer promotions and fewer promotions. ‘customs clearance activities, the company said.

The growth in gross margin, coupled with 450 basis points of the leverage of selling, general and administrative expenses, generated pre-tax profit of $ 224.9 million compared to a loss of $ 9.5 million. dollars in the first quarter of 2020.

Academy has raised its outlook for 2021, estimating a comparable store sales increase of 6-9% from the previous forecast of minus -2 to 2%.

Net income is now estimated at $ 400 million to $ 435 million for 2021, compared to a previous forecast of $ 265 to $ 290 million, and diluted earnings per share is estimated to be $ 4.15 to $ 4.50, compared to a previous forecast. from 2.70 to 2.95 dollars.

The sports of the Academy boosted by golf, football,

Sports + Outdoor Academy


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