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Another strong quarter for Hibbett

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Healthy growth in both sales and earnings at Hibbett Sports during the third quarter indicate that sports-related merchandise remains in demand despite an overall weak economic market.

The company reported net sales for the quarter ncreased 10.6% to $185.2 million compared with $167.4 million for the same period ended Oct. 30, 2010. Comparable-store sales increased 7%. Net income for the quarter increased 26.8% to $16 million compared with $12.6 million for the same period last year. Earnings per diluted share increased 34.1% to 59 cents compared with 44 cents for the same period last year.

Jeff Rosenthal, president and CEO, stated, "We are pleased to report the eighth consecutive quarter of comparable store sales increases and a record third quarter operating margin. Strong footwear and apparel sales, improved inventory management, and operational excellence continue to drive our results. We look forward to the holiday season and have increased our full year fiscal 2012 guidance."

Hibbett said it now expects earnings for fiscal 2012 to be in the range of $2.05 to $2.11 per diluted share with an expected comparable-store sales increase in the mid-single digit range for the fourth quarter.

During the quarter, Hibbett opened16 new stores, expanded 4 high performing stores and closed 3 underperforming stores, bringing the store base to 815 in 26 states as of Oct. 29. In the fourth quarter, the company said it expects to open 19 to 21 new stores and close one to three underperforming stores. In fiscal 2012, the company said it expects to open 51 to 53 new stores, expand 16 high performing stores and close 16 to 18 stores.

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