Cabela’s sales up; not profits

rboone@theolympian.comFebruary 15, 2013 

Sales of firearms and ammunition surged late in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough to offset some other factors that tugged at earnings, the outdoor retailer Cabela’s announced Thursday.

The Sidney, Neb.-based company, which operates an 182,000-square-foot store in Lacey, reported a slightly lower profit of $68 million in its fiscal fourth quarter, or 95 cents a share, compared with net income of $69.8 million, or 99 cents a share, in the same quarter the previous year.

Earnings were pulled lower by a $12.5 million reduction in revenue tied to a Visa antitrust settlement, and the company had to write down the value of some land by $20.3 million, Chief Financial Officer Ralph Kastner told analysts during a Thursday conference call.

Still, total revenue grew 14 percent to $1.12 billion from $983.7 million in the year-over-year period. And late in the fourth quarter, the company got a boost from sales of firearms and ammunition, Chief Executive Tommy Millner said.

Comparable store sales — a measure of stores open at least a year — rose 12 percent, a new record “aided by a surge in firearms and ammunition,” he said.

Although Millner, Kastner and the analysts did not mention or ask whether the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., resulted in more guns sales, the mass shooting did occur in December, which is late in the fourth quarter.

“Firearms are driving record numbers of new customers to our company,” Millner said. “We are very good at converting new customers to long-term customers who buy everything we sell.”

Other categories that sold well in the fourth quarter included camping and outdoors equipment, optics, and ice fishing equipment, Millner said, adding that the sales boost to the ice fishing category “came late, but came hard.”

The company also announced that it was “thrilled” with how its new outpost store in Union Gap, Wash., which is near Yakima, is performing.

On Thursday, Cabela’s stock, which trades under the ticker symbol CAB, fell $2.65, or 5 percent, to close at $48.11 a share. In the past 52 weeks, the stock has traded between $47.65 a share and $53.10 a share.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403

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