Foot Locker Fourth Quarter Results Top Estimates

Foot Locker FL 030714

Athletic apparel and footwear retailer Foot Locker, Inc. (FL), reported Friday a profit for the fourth quarter that increased from last year, reflecting revenues growth. Sales at established stores also grew 5.3 percent. Both adjusted earnings per share and quarterly sales topped analysts' expectations.

"The driver in achieving our best-ever financial results was the excellent execution by our team of the many initiatives we have underway. I am very proud of the progress that the entire team at Foot Locker, Inc. is making towards reaching our long term goals and objectives," Chairman and CEO Ken Hicks said.

The New York-based company reported net income of $121 million or $0.81 per share for the fourth quarter, higher than $104 million or $0.68 per share in the prior-year quarter.

Excluding items, adjusted net income for the quarter was $122 million or $0.82 per share, compared to $97 million or $0.64 per share in the year-ago quarter.

On average, 18 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report earnings of $0.76 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimate typically exclude special items.

Sales for the quarter increased 4.6 percent to $1.79 billion from $1.71 billion in the same quarter last year, and topped fifteen Wall Street analysts' consensus estimate of $1.76 billion by a whisker.

The year-ago quarter included one extra week, which generated earnings per share of $0.09 and sales of $81 million.

Comparable-store sales or sales at stores open for at least a year, increased 5.3 percent.

Merchandise inventory at the end of the fourth quarter stood at $1,220 million, up 4.5 percent from the end of the year-ago quarter.

At the end of the fourth quarter, Foot Locker operated 3,473 stores in 23 countries in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, compared to 3,335 stores last year. Additionally, it had 46 franchise stores in the Middle East and South Korea as well as 27 franchised Runners Point and Sidestep stores in Germany and Switzerland.

Looking ahead to fiscal 2014, the company noted that it expects to build on the momentum and generate a mid-single digit comparable sales gain and another double digit percentage increase in earnings per share.

"Looking out longer term, we have opportunities such as our store remodel programs, expansion in Europe, technology investments, a growing team sales and services business, and our women's business that we believe will enable us to reach our long-range financial and operational objectives," Hicks added.

FL closed Thursday's regular trading session at $42.73, up $0.16 on a volume of 3.02 million shares. In the past 52-week period, the stock has been trading in a range of $31.30 to $42.99.

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