Hibbett Sports President and CEO Jeff Rosenthal will retire after more than 21 years with the company. The retailer also announced that it will close 95 Hibbett stores in fiscal 2019 and open 10 to 15 Hibbett and City Gear locations as the company shifts to meet “changing shopping patterns,” said Rosenthal in a statement.
Despite the net store closures Hibbett reported a successful Q4 2018, with comparable sales up 3.8% and e-Commerce sales up 60%, accounting for 10.6% of the retailer’s total sales for the period. The online growth was attributed to improved web traffic and usage of the retailer’s buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) service. Hibbett is a latecomer to the e-Commerce industry, having only launched sales on its site in July 2017.
Going forward, the retailer will benefit from the acquisition of City Gear, which Hibbett picked up in November 2018 in a deal valued at $113 million. The purchase added 136 City Gear stores to the company’s portfolio, which, along with two City Gear and 10 Hibbett openings, brought the retailer’s total footprint to 1,163 stores as of February 2, 2019.
Rosenthal will continue overseeing this growth as he assists with the Board of Directors’ search for a successor. He plans to formally step down and become a member of the Board following the appointment of a new CEO.