May 25, 2022

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Sports Really Satisfies

Academy Sports reports ‘most profitable year’ in company’s history as pandemic pushed people outside

Academy Sports + Outdoors on Tuesday reported a continued upward trajectory in its fourth quarter and the “most profitable year in the company’s history” last year, as the pandemic pushed demand for outdoor activities.

The Katy retailer reported a $141.8 million profit in the quarter ended Jan. 29, compared to $91.5 million profit during the same period last year. Revenues jumped 13 percent to $1.8 billion from $1.6 billion in the year-ago quarter.

For the fiscal year ended Jan. 29, the company reported a $671.4 profit, compared to $308.8 the prior year.  Revenues jumped 19 percent to $6.8 billion from $5.7 billion.

“2021 was an extraordinary year for Academy Sports + Outdoors. The team delivered the highest sales and profits in the Company’s history while navigating the many challenges faced by the Company and the retail industry,” said Ken Hicks, Academy chairman, president and chief executive. “We are proud of what our company has accomplished over the past three years, but even more excited about our future growth prospects.”

Demand for fitness and outdoor gear was already on the rise before the pandemic, the company has said, but the pandemic only enhanced those interests as people slowed down, got outside more and focused on staying healthy.

The company’s margins jumped 36 percent last year to a record $2.4 billion, driven by higher retail prices and a favorable product mix, which offset higher freight costs, it said. Margin increases were helped by the company’s rollback of sales and promotions, which the company said have not been necessary or wise, given supply chain issues still working themselves out. 

“As you look at the current supply situation there’s just not as much goods to do promotions as historically people would have,” Hicks told investors during a Tuesday call. 

Improving Academy’s online performance has also been a recent push. Fourth quarter e-commerce sales jumped 23 percent compared to the year before and 97 percent compared to the same quarter in 2019. The company is simultaneously expanding its store count, changing layouts and emphasizing more localized product selections for each.

Hicks said demand for his company’s goods will only increase as it improves its offerings and people keeping adding to habits such as camping and climbing they picked up during the pandemic. 

“The good news is we’re seeing the benefits of the things we’re doing,” he said. “The better news is there are even more to come.” 

Academy’s share price has about tripled since its initial public offering in October 2020, when it opened trading at $13. Shares were trading around $39 Tuesday morning.

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