Banc of America upgraded Hibbett Sporting Goods (HIBB ), The Sports Authority (TSA ), and Foot Locker (FL ) to buy from neutral.
Analyst Robert Ohmes says he believes the potential for a prolonged shift toward retro/fashion sneakers, and away from casual brown shoes, should support accelerating sneaker sales through the first half of 2004. He sees continued improvement in the promotional environment, which should continue to support higher sneaker gross margins through the first half of next year.
Ohmes says selling prices seem to have stabilized, with an opportunity for a rebound, as the $100-plus segment shows signs of strength. He adds that licensed apparel products are still seeing strong full-price sell-throughs. For Hibbett, Ohmes has a $36 target.