EL SEGUNDO, Calif., March 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Big 5 Sporting Goods Corporation (Nasdaq: BGFV), a leading sporting goods retailer, today reported financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended January 3, 2010. As the Company previously reported, for the fiscal 2009 fourth quarter, net sales were $237.6 million, compared to net sales of $219.6 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008. Same store sales for the 14-week period ended January 3, 2010 increased 0.1% versus the comparable period in the prior year. As a result of the fiscal year calendar, the fiscal 2009 fourth quarter included 14 weeks and the fiscal 2009 full year included 53 weeks, compared to 13 weeks and 52 weeks for the respective reporting periods in the prior year. For purposes of reporting same store sales comparisons to the prior year, the Company uses comparable 14-week and 53-week periods. Gross profit for the fiscal 2009 fourth quarter was $80.8 million, compared to $71.3 million in the fourth quarter of the prior year. The Company's gross profit margin was 34.0% in the fiscal 2009 fourth quarter versus 32.5% in the fourth quarter of the prior year. The increase in gross profit margin was driven primarily by an increase in merchandise margins of 89 basis points and lower distribution costs as a percentage of net sales. Selling and administrative expense as a percentage of net sales was 29.4% in the fiscal 2009 fourth quarter versus 29.3% in the fourth quarter of the prior year. The slight increase in selling and administrative expense as a percentage of net sales from the fourth quarter of the prior year was due to recording a net pre-tax charge of $1.0 million, or $0.03 after tax per diluted share, which reflects the establishment of a legal settlement accrual offset by proceeds received from the settlement of a lawsuit relating to credit card fees. Net income for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009 was $6.4 million, or $0.29 per diluted share, compared to net income of $3.6 million, or $0.17 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008. Results for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009 include the net charge of $0.03 per diluted share related to legal matters. For the fiscal 2009 full year ended January 3, 2010, net sales increased $30.8 million, or 3.6%, to $895.5 million from net sales of $864.7 million for fiscal 2008. Same store sales for the 53-week period in fiscal 2009 decreased 0.6% versus the comparable period in the prior year. Net income was $21.8 million, or $1.01 per diluted share, for fiscal 2009, compared to net income of $13.9 million, or $0.64 per diluted share, in fiscal 2008. Results for fiscal 2009 include the net charge of $0.03 per diluted share relating to legal matters. Results for fiscal 2008 included a charge of $0.04 per diluted share related to lease accounting. "We are pleased with our fourth quarter and full-year results, which reflect the strength of our unique business model and solid execution by our team," said Steven G. Miller, the Company's Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. "Throughout our history, we have focused on providing consumers with compelling values on quality products and managing the business effectively and efficiently, a strategy which is particularly well-suited to the current economic environment. Our successful performance enabled us to deliver sales growth and significantly improved earnings over the course of fiscal 2009. For the full year, we posted a 57% increase in net income and generated operating cash flow of $54.1 million, a 37% increase from fiscal 2008. We also have continued to reduce debt levels, ending the year with $55 million of long-term debt compared to $96 million at the end of fiscal 2008." Mr. Miller continued, "We have enjoyed positive sales trends during the first quarter of fiscal 2010 to date, as we have benefitted from favorable weather conditions in many of our markets. While we are encouraged by the start of our current quarter, we recognize that the economy remains challenging and the uncertainty experienced in the consumer environment over the last few years has continued into 2010. We remain confident in our overall business approach, and plan to continue to focus on driving sales and managing expenses while strategically increasing our store growth during the year ahead."