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Hibbett Sports Gets Kicked

Shares plunge after the retailer slashes profit targets.
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Hibbett Sports (HIBB) - Get Hibbett Inc Report knocked down its fourth-quarter profit forecast following a weak sales performance in the period to date.

The news sent shares of the sporting-goods retailer plunging $3.84, or 24%, to $12.12 in after-hours trading.

Hibbett now expects earnings of 20 cents to 26 cents a share for the quarter ending Feb. 2, down from its prior projection of 36 cents to 44 cents. The estimate also is down from the company's year-ago earnings of 39 cents a share.

Analysts, on average, anticipated a profit of 40 cents a share, according to Thomson Financial.

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"Decreased traffic throughout the quarter due to the lack of a 'hot' trend or product technology, as well as the weak economic environment, have caused us to readjust our expectations for the fourth quarter," said Chairman and CEO Mickey Newsome.

Those sentiments echo those of many retailers, who generally have posted

weaker-than-expected results for the holiday season as economic pressures weigh on consumers. As well, many analysts have pointed out that the season lacked a big in-demand trend to lure in buyers.

Hibbett now predicts that it will report a mid-single-digit drop in same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least a year, on both a fiscal basis and when adjusting for a calendar change. Previously, the company projected a low-single-digit increase on a calendar basis and a mid-single-digit rise on a fiscal basis.

This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.com.