The Florence-founded Hibbett Sports has announced plans to close some 95 stores, but has not released which locations will be impacted.

Hibbett made the announcement as part of its fourth-quarter and fiscal 2019 report.

The company has three Shoals locations — in Florence Mall at 314 Cox Creek Parkway in Florence, and 519 Avalon Ave. in Muscle Shoals.

Florence Mayor Steve Holt said he has not heard anything about the fate of the local stores. He said Hibbett has been a part of the Shoals since the Hibbett family started the company here.

Founded in 1945, the company has more than 1,100 stores today under the Hibbett and City Gear banners, according to the annual report. The locations primarily are in small and mid-sized communities.

The company blossomed throughout the decades and today its corporate office is in Birmingham.

"Hopefully, this won't affect the local stores," Holt said. "It's always painful to lose a store. We've been blessed with new investments, but we appreciate the ones we have and we don't want to lose them."

The report states Hibbett "is focused on improving the productivity of the store base while continuing to grow its omni-channel business to serve customers where and when they want to shop."

As a result, the company will close approximately 95 stores in fiscal 2020 and will open 10 to 15 City Gear stores, the report states. The company's 2019 fiscal year ended on Feb. 2.

The release quotes Jeff Rosenthal, president and chief executive officer, as saying: "While these decisions are never easy, we believe it is in the best interest of our shareholders as we continue to evolve the business and adapt to changing shopping patterns. Going forward, we will continue to invest in our business with the goal of providing a differentiated product assortment and customer experience that aligns with today’s consumer."

Net sales for the company increase by 14.7 percent for the fourth quarter to $306 million, compared to the previous fourth quarter, according to the report. Annual sales rose 4.2 percent over the previous year to $1 billion. or 256-740-5739. Twitter @TD_BDelinski


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