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PITTSBURGH-Dick’s Sporting Goods may take advantage of vacated store sites to expand beyond its 2010 plan, executives said at the company’s third-quarter conference call. The company will open at least 24 new Dick’s units, equaling its 2009 growth, and five Golf Galaxy stores, all in the first three quarters of the year.

“Depending on market opportunities, and the size and attractiveness of the properties, we will continue to look,” said Joseph H. Schmidt, president and COO. “If they arise, we will continue to acquire the properties and possibly grow beyond our 2009 levels.”

Most new units likely will be in the 35,000-square-foot to 55,000-square-foot range, versus older, two-level units that exceeded 100,000 square feet. The slowdown in new development is resulting in a greater reliance on redeveloped stores, which usually are smaller, the company explained. Southern California does not currently factor into expansion, though that could change. And the region is definitely being eyed for 2010 and 2011.

Net sales for the third quarter were $989.8 million, up 7.1% vs. the same quarter of 2008. Consolidated comparable-store sales rose 1.9%. Earnings were $18.9 million, compared with net income of $8.0 million for the prior-year quarter.

Dick’s Sporting Goods operates 420 Dick’s Sporting Goods stores in 40 states primarily throughout the eastern half of the United States, and 91 Golf Galaxy stores in 31 states.

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