Academy Sports’ revenues still soaring

Academy Sports and Outdoors reported soaring revenues in the fourth quarter, closing a year of strong sales despite a pandemic that has hammered the retail industry. Now, as the economy begins to normalize, the challenge is to maintain that level of growth.

The Katy-based company reported a $91.5 million profit (97 cents per diluted share) during its fourth quarter ended Jan. 30, compared to $17.7 million (24 cents) during the same period last year. Revenues increased 17 percent to $1.6 billion from $1.4 billion in the fourth quarter last year.

For the fiscal year ended Jan. 30, the company reported a $309 million profit ($3.79 per diluted share), compared to $120 million ($1.60) during the prior year. Revenues increased 18 percent to $5.7 billion from $4.8 billion the year before.

Customers picking up new hobbies during the pandemic fed sales, executives said, and those hobbies present an ongoing opportunity. The company, which went public in October, also expects sales to increase in areas the pandemic hurt, such as apparel, sports equipment and back-to-school shopping.

As supply chains normalize, Academy also stands to benefit by selling products that have been difficult to keep in stock, such as bicycles, kayaks, exercise equipment and ammunition.

“The supply chain continues to be stretched,” Ken Hicks, Academy’s chairman, chief executive and president, said in an interview. “We’re selling stuff as fast as we’re getting it in a lot of cases.”

Pools are also selling quickly again this year, Hicks said, noting weeks in February and March when the company sold thousands of pools per week.

To maximize its potential, Academy will continue to improve its e-commerce platform and increase targeted marketing through digital channels, HE said. The company also plans to remodel 30 stores this year.

“While 2020 was a strong year, we know there are many challenges ahead of us,” Hicks said in a Tuesday investor call. “But we’re focused on the future and feel confident that we are well positioned for the long term, during and post-pandemic.”

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