Dick's Sporting Goods exceeded both its own estimates and those of analysts during the fourth quarter, and even managed to register its first billion-dollar reporting period in the process.

The fast-growing sports retailer, based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, during the 14-week period ended 3 February registered a 25.3% boost in net income to US$67.7m, or $1.20 a diluted share, from $54m, or $1.00, in the year-ago quarter.

Dick's had last projected EPS of $1.13 to $1.16 while analysts expected EPS of $1.15.

Helped by its earlier acquisition of Galyan's, sales moved ahead 20.8% to $1.03bn from $849.5m during the 13-week year-ago quarter. Comparable-store sales, which include Galyan's units in both the 2005 and 2006 quarters, increased 2%, at the low end of the company's projection of a 2% to 3% comp rise. 

Dick's completed its acquisition of Golf Galaxy for $226m on 13 February.

For the full year, Dick's net income advanced 54.3% to $112.6m, or $2.03 a diluted share, from $73m, or $1.35. The 2005 figures include special items, including merger integration costs involving Galyan's, which lowered EPS by 15 cents a share.

Sales were up 18.6% to $3.11bn from $2.62bn. Same-store sales increased 6%, but that figure doesn't include either the extra week in 2006 or the former Galyan's stores, which weren't operating under Dick's management at the start of 2006.

In the current year, the company expects EPS of $2.37 to $2.40, 18% above last year's, and same-store sales increases of about 2%.

The company operates 294 stores in 34 states at the end of fiscal 2006 and expects to open 45 Dick's stores and 17 Golf Galaxy units during the year. One Dick's store is expected to be relocated.
By Arnold J Karr.