Sport on! Dick’s rallies on the return of group sports activities

A year after safety fears led to the cancellation of baseball and other team sports, Dick’s Sporting Goods is having…

A year after safety fears led to the cancellation of baseball and other team sports, Dick’s Sporting Goods is having a comeback year as bats, balls and jerseys fly off shelves.

First-quarter sales more than doubled to $2.92 billion and the company raised its expectations for sales and profits in 2021.

Sales at established stores surged 115%.

The company, based outside of Pittsburgh in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, did a lot better than many other retailers during the pandemic as families turned to camping, water sports and other socially distanced activities.

With the return of team sports, first-quarter profits surged to a record.

Dick’s “saw a resurgence in our team sports business as kids began to get back out on the field after a year in which many youth sports activities were delayed or cancelled,” said CEO Lauren Hobart in a prepared statement.

Shares jumped 13% at the opening bell Wednesday.

Dick’s earned $361.8 million, or $3.41 per share, swinging back from a loss of $143.4 million, or $1.71 per diluted share, a year earlier.

Removing one-time costs or benefits, per-share earnings were $3.79 per share, more than triple what analysts polled by Zacks Investment Research had been expecting.

Revenue also exceeded expectations.

It appears that momentum will continue, industry analysts said.

“In addition to the gym-crowd pivoting to working out from home, our data also show that many traditionally less-active customers have engaged more in fitness over the past few months. Some of this is because of an absence of other things to do and some is related to more people being conscious about their health and wellbeing as result of the virus,” said Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail. “This trend has created a new wave of shoppers, many of which gravitated to specialist sports retailers for the service and authority they provide.

Dick’s now anticipates full-year adjusted earnings in a range of $8 to $8.70 per share, up from $4.40 to $5.20. Revenue is expected to be between $10.52 billion and $10.81 billion, up from $9.54 billion and $9.94 billion.

Those projections also far exceed Wall Street projections for per-share earnings of $5.46 per share, and revenue of $9.9 billion.

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