Academy Sports revenues still on the rise

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Academy Sports and Outdoors saw revenue surge in the fourth quarter, ending a year of strong sales despite a pandemic that hit the retail industry. Now, as the economy begins to normalize, the challenge is to maintain this level of growth.

The Katy-based company reported earnings of $ 91.5 million (97 cents per diluted share) in its fourth quarter ended Jan. 30, compared with $ 17.7 million (24 cents) during the same period last year. Revenue rose 17% to $ 1.6 billion, from $ 1.4 billion in the fourth quarter of last year.

For the fiscal year ended Jan. 30, the company reported earnings of $ 309 million ($ 3.79 per diluted share), up from $ 120 million ($ 1.60) the year before. Revenue rose 18% to $ 5.7 billion from $ 4.8 billion the previous year.

Customers choosing new hobbies during the pandemic have fueled sales, executives said, and these hobbies present an ongoing opportunity. The company, which went public in October, also expects sales to increase in areas affected by the pandemic, such as clothing, sports equipment and back-to-school shopping.

As supply chains standardize, Academy is also expected to benefit by selling products that are difficult to keep in stock, such as bikes, kayaks, exercise equipment and ammunition.

“The supply chain continues to be stretched,” said Ken Hicks, president, CEO and president of the Academy, in an interview. “We sell things as fast as we get them in many cases.”

Pools are also selling fast this year, Hicks said, noting weeks in February and March when the company sold thousands of pools per week.

To maximize its potential, Academy will continue to improve its e-commerce platform and increase targeted marketing through digital channels, HE said. The company also plans to renovate 30 stores this year.

“While 2020 has been a solid year, we know there are many challenges ahead,” Hicks said during an investor call on Tuesday. “But we are focused on the future and are confident that we are well positioned for the long term, during and after the pandemic.”

Academy shares have doubled since their debut at $ 13 a share in October, closing at $ 26.88 in Tuesday’s trading.

David Swartz, analyst with Morningstar’s consumer industry research group, said there was no end in sight for the booming sports and entertainment sales driven by the pandemic. Businesses like Academy are flying high, he said, as people spend more on keeping things at home while offices remain largely closed, travel is cut and events don’t happen.

“I think a lot of these trends will continue,” he said.

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