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Resist the urge to jump to conclusions on FL (which we like) based on the significant comp miss out of DKS (which we don’t like) this morning. If FL trades off, it will look all the more appealing heading into the print. Consider the following…

  1. Hardgoods account for 54% of DKS’ total sales (and is the likely source of comp underperformance in the quarter) while footwear is only ~18% of the portfolio. On the contrary, footwear accounts for nearly 90% of sales at FL.
  2. Based on monthly NPD POS athletic footwear data released last night, the spread between the athletic specialty channel and the shoe chains and dept/natn’l channels is at its widest in years. The bottom-line is that sales in the athletic specialty channel were up +8.4% in Q1 compared to the +3.6% implied by weekly data – this is a significant improvement.
  3. Lastly, ASPs, while growing at a sequentially lower rate, are still up LSD yy (vs a difficult 5% comp yy) in the athletic specialty channel – where FL is leading. In addition, higher unit sales more than make up for any ASP weakness.

We don’t want to send the wrong message here – this s not a stock we love. It’s not a great business, it’s far too over-indexed to one vendor, and it’s not super cheap at 6.2x EBITDA. But there is plenty of ‘outside-the-box’ execution to be conceived and executed upon here in the new regime.  We still think that after the call, this will slowly but surely convert some of the perennial perma-FL-haters’ into viewing this as a story that can manage double digit EPS growth and can buy back 30% of the float within 3-years. That’s not half bad…  While not our favorite stock, it is one we think should keep working in 2H.