Hibbett Sports Executive Insights: Pull Forward and Real Estate

On Friday, Hibbett Sports Inc (NASDAQ:HIBB) reported its first quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call. Here’s what the C-suite revealed.

Pull Forward

Seth Sigman – Credit Suisse: Congratulations on a great quarter. Some retailers have talked about some pull forward in Q1. You mentioned sales up high-single digits quarter-to-date now, obviously a very strong trend, but do you think there was some pull forward in April that maybe you could speak to?

Rebecca A. Jones – SVP of Merchandising: We don’t really think that we’ve got a pull forward. We think we’re on a really just a decent trend as far as sales goes. From our perspective, when you look at the weather being warmer, it really that’s not the impact for us, it’s not about whether is hot or cold necessarily, it’s more about is it wet or dry, and what we saw happen in throughout the quarter was really (pretty) consistent sales and we’re seeing that trend continue into this month.

Seth Sigman – Credit Suisse: The question about your e-commerce business, last quarter, you announced the partnership with a third-party to run that license part of the business. Can you talk a little bit about the thought process behind that decision and maybe how it is done so far?

Jeffry O. Rosenthal – CEO and President: Yeah, it is just really an affiliate program it is click through and we are getting a small royalty off of it. We just felt it was good for our customers and that’s what we are doing right now and in the future date we will have an e-commerce strategy.

Seth Sigman – Credit Suisse: Have you seen any cannibalization as you launched that or…?

Jeffry O. Rosenthal – CEO and President: Not at all. It is so insignificant.

Real Estate

Rick Nelson – Stephens Inc.: Mickey or Jeff, can you update us on the real estate market what you are seeing in terms of existing buildings as well as new shopping center development?

Jeffry O. Rosenthal – CEO and President: Yeah, Rick, we feel very confident in hitting our goal for this year. So far this year we are ahead of the pace that we set out at the beginning of the year or last year to hit for this year. We are seeing again a little bit better. New store construction still is where it needs to be, but we are seeing a slight improvement and we feel really good about the opportunities that are out there.

Rick Nelson – Stephens Inc.: A blockbuster movie gallery opportunities…?

Jeffry O. Rosenthal – CEO and President: We still have got a few of those still coming. I know as the leases become available and they can work our kind of deal we will do those kind of deals. A lot of time we have to wait out the landlord because blockbuster movie gallery were paying too higher rent than we’re used to paying but we have gotten a few more this year.

Michael J. Newsome – Executive Chairman: Rick, another thing that’s happened is some of the old Wal-Marts, where they move to a supercenter, they’re chopping up those old Wal-Marts. We’re seeing some of that, so that’s happening.

Rick Nelson – Stephens Inc.: By our calculations, 31% return on equity on a trailing basis, you’re doing it without any debt on the books, all in cash, $96 million in cash, how do you think about that going forward without a major step-up in store growth, where do you see that cash position going I guess and the alternatives for the cash?

Gary A. Smith – SVP and CFO: We think that there’s still opportunity to but our undervalued stock back and reduce the shares, but the next couple of years, we have a distribution center coming up and we’ll be moving our corporate offices. So, that will probably take approximately $30 million worth of cash. So, yeah, it’s a good thing to have, Rick.

Rick Nelson – Stephens Inc.: Mickey or Jeff, if I could ask you where you stand, what is your (indiscernible) at this time, what sort of timeline?

Jeffry O. Rosenthal – CEO and President: Sure. We had an excellent staff here internally, and Gary is still available if we need him, but we will be making an announcement pretty soon.