Strong demand for its core footwear and brand-focused apparel helped sporting goods retailer Hibbett Sports to book an 8.4% increase in first-quarter profit.

Net income reached US$28.4m for the 13 weeks to 3 May, compared to $26.2m in the same period last year. Sales increased 9.1% to $261.9m from $240m a year ago, and comparable store sales rose 4.1%.

The company opened a record number of 16 new stores, expanded 4 high performing ones, and closed 4 underperforming stores, bringing its total to 939.

"We were pleased with sales during the first quarter, which were driven by strong demand in our core footwear and brand focused apparel businesses," said president and CEO Jeff Rosenthal.

The company opened a record number of 16 new stores, expanded 4 high performing ones, and closed 4 underperforming stores, bringing its total to 939. It also fully converted operations to our new wholesale and logistics facility.

"Looking forward, the continued success of new stores and the efficiencies of our new wholesale and logistics facility will be a catalyst for sustained, profitable growth for the company," Rosenthal added.

For fiscal 2015, Hibbett Sports expects earnings per share to be $2.78-2.98, comparable store sales to increase in the low-to-mid single digit range, and open around 75-80 new stores.