Bear of the Day: Hibbett Sports (HIBB)

It's no secret how much the broader sporting goods industry has struggled recently, and like all retailers, companies who operate in this space have suffered from intense competition, changing consumer habits, and the surge in online shopping.

They are then forced to run aggressive promotions and discounting to get customers back in stores, undercutting the value of the products they sell.

This is a vicious cycle, but it's not a new narrative. It's a retail story that has been told quarter after quarter as e-commerce companies like Amazon (AMZN) continue to dominate and alter how we think about shopping.

One sporting goods stock that has been hit particularly hard has been Hibbett Sports Inc. (HIBB) . The Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell) stock is based in Birmingham, AL, and operates full-line sporting goods stores in small to mid-sized markets mostly in the Southeastern U.S; the company offers products like athletic equipment, footwear, apparel.

Weak Guidance for Fiscal 2018

Last quarter was rough for Hibbett. To recap, net sales decreased 9.2% while comparable store sales fell 11.7% year-over-year; the company reported a loss per share of 15 cents, though the bottom line surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 20 cents per share.

As a result, Hibbett slashed its outlook for fiscal 2018. The sporting goods company expects continued soft sales-Hibbett has posted a top line miss in nine of the last 10 quarters-and gross margin pressure due to the promotional retail environment.

The company expects earnings in the range of $1.25 to $1.35 compared to previous guidance of $2.35 to $2.55, and comps in the negative mid to high single-digit range versus previous guidance of negative 1% to positive 1%.

How Will HIBB Perform in Q3?

Hibbett is tentatively reporting its third-quarter fiscal 2018 results Nov. 17. We currently expect revenues of $217 million on earnings of 21 cents per share, representing year-over-year declines of 8.4% and over 68%, respectively.

For the current quarter, five analysts have revised their earnings estimates downwards in the last 60 days compared to none higher. Earnings estimates were sitting at 45 cents a share just 90 days ago.

HIBB's average earnings surprise is only 3.81%, though it did beat earnings last quarter by 25%.

Hibbett's Q3 report will likely be a good indicator of how the company will perform during the upcoming holiday season, so investors should keep an eye on any more guidance cuts.

Shares Down on the Year

Many sporting goods stocks are taking a beating right now as the industry deals with the cyclical nature of retail.

So far in 2017, HIBB stock is down over 65%. Its broader industry, Retail-Miscellaneous , has only lost about 20%.

While the company's growth story seems to have stalled, Hibbett could be an interesting value play.

Hibbett Sports, Inc. Price and Consensus

Hibbett Sports, Inc. Price and Consensus | Hibbett Sports, Inc. Quote

Shares currently trade at a forward P/E 10.34, and have traded below the S&P 500's average price-to-earnings for the last year.

For investors looking for a sporting goods stock with more growth potential, they should consider Five Below (FIVE), a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company that anticipates 25% earnings growth for the quarter.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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