Hibbett joins list of retailers flagging weak spending

Fri Aug 23, 2013 11:15am EDT

Aug 23 (Reuters) - Sports-goods retailer Hibbett Sports Inc slashed its full-year earnings forecast, joining a growing chorus of retailers blaming weakening consumer spending.

Hibbett shares fell as much as 10.7 percent to $52.53 on the Nasdaq on Friday morning.

Many retailers across the price spectrum have pointed to weak sales.

Dick's Sporting Goods Inc cut its full-year profit forecast on Tuesday, saying consumers have shifted priorities to where they want to spend their money.

U.S. government statistics show shoppers have gradually directed more of their spending towards home and auto improvement and less on apparel.

"Given recent trends and on-going uncertainties in the economic environment, the company is revising its guidance," Hibbett said on Friday.

The company cut its full-year earnings forecast to $2.65-$2.77 per share from its prior estimate of $2.85-$3.05. It reported earnings of $2.72 per share for the year ended January 2013.

"Guidance is not great but misunderstood... there is no structural problem as margins and inventory levels are in good shape," wrote Sterne, Agee & Leach analyst Sam Poser in a note.

Hibbett, which operates sporting goods stores in small to mid-sized markets, predominately in the South, Southwest, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions of the United States, has reported earnings growth in double-digit percentages for the last four years.

Larger rival Foot Locker Inc said while the sales environment was challenging, it remained confident of meeting its full-year outlook for same-store sales and profit.

Foot Locker forecast annual same-store sales to increase in the mid-single digit percentage range. It could, however, be at the low end of that range, the company clarified on a conference call with analysts.

The company's shares fell as much as 4.4 percent to $32.50 on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday morning.

Foot Locker operates about 3,500 stores in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Hibbett, in contrast, operates only 892 stores, all located in the United States.

Thomson Reuters StarMine's intrinsic valuation suggests Hibbett shares are overvalued and should be trading at $47.67 compared with their Thursday close of $58.47, while those of Foot Locker are undervalued and should be trading at $53.74, compared with their close of $34.01.

StarMine's models take into account analyst estimates for growth, usually over five years, and then models the typical growth trajectory of companies over a longer period of time. (Reporting by Siddharth Cavale in Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das)

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