May 22, 2009
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Foot Locker Q1 profit tops view despite sales shortfall

May 22, 2009

May 21 (Reuters) - Athletic shoe retailer Foot Locker Inc's (FL.N) posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit, as improved margins from recent cost cuts helped offset a 7 percent decline in sales.

Jordan AJF trainers at Footlocker

The company's shares rose more than 5 percent to $11 in trading after the bell. They had closed at $10.45 Thursday 21 May on the New York Stock Exchange.

Foot Locker, which operates over 3,600 stores around the world, said first-quarter net profit was $31 million, or 20 cents per share -- much higher than the $3 million, or 2 cents per share, it posted a year earlier.

Excluding costs related to store closures and other charges, the company had earned $21 million, or 14 cents per share, last year.

Sales in the latest quarter, hurt by forex losses and the adverse economic environment, fell to $1.22 billion from $1.31 billion a year ago.

Analysts, on average, had been expecting the company to post earnings of 13 cents per share on revenue of $1.23 billion, according to Reuters Estimates.

Foot Locker, which stopped providing a 2009 outlook earlier this year, said its cost-saving initiatives resulted in a $21 million fall in selling, general and administrative expenses.

The company said that a repositioning of its merchandise inventory, undertaken over the last two years, helped it increase gross margin rate by 130 basis points. (Reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee in Bangalore; Editing by Anthony Kurian)

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