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In Glendale, Ca. Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty

The demise of brick-and-mortar retail is no longer a sure investment bet.

What's going on: Shares of Dick's Sporting Goods have surged by as much as 28% today after surprisingly solid first-quarter earnings and a forecast for a rosy year overall, reports the WSJ's Elizabeth Winkler.

That news has broadsided short-sellers: With Amazon on the march, Dick's, a chain spread through 47 states and 600 stores, had been a favorite target of short sellers, especially since it stopped selling assault rifles following the Parkland shootings in February.

  • "Nearly 15% of the company’s shares available for trading had been sold short as investors bet against the stock. Dick’s strong performance forced investors to buy them back, exaggerating Wednesday morning’s bounce," Winkler wrote.

The big picture: "Legacy brick-and-mortar retailers who have been treading water for years are dying. Dick’s, however, which is a last man standing in the sporting goods category, is doing fine," Mark Cohen, director of retail studies at Columbia University, tells Axios.

The bottom line: "There’s a Darwinian process occurring in brick-and-mortar retail that’s been accelerated by the presence of emerging e-commerce," says Cohen. "The retail industry is perfectly healthy, but not every retailer is basking in the glow."

Go deeper

Updated 13 hours ago - Sports

The potential GOAT of chess faces intriguing challenger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The World Chess Championship between Norway's Magnus Carlsen and Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi began on Friday, 1,094 days after Carlsen won his fourth consecutive title.

Why it matters: During the long, COVID-fueled layoff, chess entered a new era, and with the championship finally here, the age-old game is ready for its close-up.

Department of Interior proposes raising cost of drilling on public lands

A horizontal drilling rig and a pump jack sit on federal land in Lea County, New Mexico. Photo: Callaghan O'Hare/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Oil and gas companies should pay more to drill on federal lands and waters, the Department of the Interior argued in a report released Friday, saying that the current rates were "outdated."

Driving the news: The Department of Interior report said that the federal government's oil and gas leasing and permitting program "fails to provide a fair return to taxpayers, even before factoring in the resulting climate-related costs that must be borne by taxpayers."

15 hours ago - Health

U.S. to restrict air travel from 8 countries over new COVID variant concerns

A COVID-19 vaccine is administered. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The U.S. will impose new air travel restrictions in response to the Omicron variant, a new COVID strain first detected in South Africa, President Biden announced Friday.

The big picture: Air travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi will be restricted starting on Monday.