EL SEGUNDO, CA-The second quarter brought a record crashing down for the executives at Big 5 Sporting Goods Corp., the first decrease in same-store sales, by 0.2%, that the company has seen in 11 years. During the firm’s second quarter conference call Wednesday, company officials at the sporting goods retailer blamed a cooler summer for a drop in apparel and typical summer purchases, but said the company is still on track to open 20 new stores this year.

Steven Miller, president and CEO, said during the call that most of the blame for the drop in same store sales and a drop in net income to $5.9 million during Q2 was lackluster consumer spending. “We’re not exactly sure of the macroeconomic issues affecting the spending, whether it be gas prices, housing or other reasons, but there has been an effect on spending habits,” Miller said. “It’s a difficult retail environment.” Big 5 did increase net sales by 2.9% to $217.8 million from net sales of $211.8 million for the second quarter of 2006.

He also said that the summer of 2006 hit early, boosting spending, prompting an unfavorable comparison to the cooling trend this year. “Last July, many of the West Coast areas, especially California, had a long-lasting heat wave that benefited summer sales,” Miller said. “We’re cautiously optimistic that during the back half of the third quarter, the weather should not be as large a factor.” The company’s 348 stores operate in 10 states in the West Coast region.

The company is on track for its store openings, Miller said. Stores opened in Denver, Fort Collins, CO and Selma, CA during the second quarter. The company will open five new Big 5 stores in the third quarter, and is on track to have 20 new stores open by December, Miller said.

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