Foot Locker, Hibbett Score With Back-to-School Spending

Sporting-goods retailers Foot Locker Inc. and Hibbett Sports Inc. reported strong sales in the latest quarter lifted by back-to-school shopping, but they are now bracing for how the latest surge in Covid-19 cases might affect the critical holiday season.

Foot Locker logged $2.11 billion in third-quarter revenue, up from $1.93 billion in the year-earlier period. Many customers began shopping for the school year later than usual because of the pandemic’s unpredictability, but Chief Executive Richard Johnson said momentum built during the quarter, which ended Oct. 31, driving a 7.7% increase in comparable-store sales. Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting a 0.2% decline.

Hibbett’s sales rose 20% to $331.4 million in its fiscal third quarter, ahead of the $286.4 million analysts were expecting. On a comparable basis, sales from the company’s nearly 1,100 stores grew 17.5% from a year earlier.

Back-to-school shopping and popular footwear products drove a higher average ticket size as well as more transactions, Hibbett Chief Executive Mike Longo said.

But as the pandemic persists, both companies said it continues to threaten the outlook for some sporting-good sales. A surge in Covid-19 cases across the country has raised the specter of additional retail restrictions in the weeks leading up to Christmas, Mr. Johnson noted.

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