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Dick's Sporting Goods Inc. (NYSE:DKS), an authentic full-line sporting goods retailer, posted strong first quarter 2011 results, ended April 30, 2011, on the heels of higher sales and improved margins.

Quarterly earnings climbed to 30 cents a share from the year-ago level of 22 cents a share and comfortably outpaced its earnings guidance in the range of 26 cents to 28 cents a share. Dick’s also inched past the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 29 cents.

A 2.1% increase in consolidated comparable-store sales (comps) and opening of new stores aided the 6.3% year-over-year increase in total revenue, which climbed to $1,113.8 million. However, total revenues fell short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1,141.0 million.

The comps growth was driven by a 1.4% rise in Dick's Sporting Goods store sales, a 3.3% increase in Golf Galaxy store sales, along with a 25.2% growth in e-commerce business.

Gross profit came in at $330.4 million, up 9.3% year over year. Gross margin improved 82 basis points to 29.7%. Operating profit increased 37.1% year over year to $64.4 million, resulting from higher gross profit. Operating margin increased 130 basis points to 5.8%.

Financial Aspects

Dick’s ended the year with cash and cash equivalents of $532.5 million and shareholders’ equity of $1,432.2 million. The company incurred a capital expenditure of $32.6 million in the quarter.

For 2011, the company expects to incur capital expenditures of $252 million on a gross basis and $197 million on a net basis

Store Update

In the reported quarter, Dick’s opened 3 Dick's Sporting Goods stores, bringing the total to 447 stores in 42 states.

Dick’s plans to open 8 new Dick's Sporting Goods stores and relocate one Golf Galaxy store in the second quarter of fiscal 2011.

In fiscal 2011, the company expects to open 34 and remodel 14 Dick's Sporting Goods stores. Dick’s also has plans to open 3 new Golf Galaxy stores and relocate one Golf Galaxy store.

Guidance

For the second quarter of fiscal 2011, Dick’s expects earnings per share to be between 47 cents and 49 cents and comps to rise in a band of 3% to 5.7%.

For full year 2011, management now expects earnings in the range of $1.91 to $1.93 per share, up from the prior guidance range of $1.89 to 1.91 per share, while comps are expected to increase 3.0%.

Our Recommendation

Pittsburgh-based Dick's Sporting Goods is a full-line sporting goods retailer offering a broad assortment of brand name sporting goods equipment, apparel and footwear in a specialty store environment.

Dick’s remains the dominant player in the industry with significant store expansion and potential share gain opportunities in the U.S. We remain optimistic about the company’s competitive position, and consistency of earnings growth.

However, the sporting goods market is highly competitive in nature and Dick’s failure to compete effectively in terms of price, quality or product will hamper its growth potential. The company faces competition from Foot Locker Inc. (NYSE:FL) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT). Moreover, a weak economy will likely continue to weigh on the company’s profitability in the long term.

Dick's Sporting Goods currently has a short-term Zacks #2 Rank (Buy) rating. We maintain our long-term Neutral recommendation on the company.

Source: Dick's Outperforms in Q1