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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

1 hour ago - Health

Standardized testing becomes another pandemic victim

Photo: Edmund D. Fountain for The Washington Post via Getty

National standardized reading and math tests have been pushed from next year to 2022, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: There’s mounting national evidence that students are suffering major setbacks this year, with a surge in the number of failing grades.

2 hours ago - World

European countries extend lockdowns

A medical worker takes a COVID-19 throat swab sample at the Berlin-Brandenburg Airport. Photo by Maja Hitij via Getty

Recent spikes in COVID-19 infections across Europe have led authorities to extend restrictions ahead of the holiday season.

Why it matters: "Relaxing too fast and too much is a risk for a third wave after Christmas," said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

2 hours ago - Health

Africa CDC: Vaccines likely won't be available until Q2 of 2021

Africa CDC director Dr. John Nkengasong. Photo: Mohammed Abdu Abdulbaqi/Anadolu Agency via Getty

Africa may have to wait until the second quarter of 2021 to roll out vaccines, Africa CDC director John Nkengasong said Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

Why it matters: “I have seen how Africa is neglected when drugs are available,” Nkengasong said.