FINANCE

Foot Locker on top of its game in Q4 as sales soar

BY Marianne Wilson

Foot Locker Inc. reported stronger-than-expected fourth quarter earnings and sales and forecast double-digit profit growth in the coming year.

The athletic footwear and apparel company has been making headlines by investing in innovative startups mainly targeted to younger shoppers. Its most recent investment, $12.5 million in children’s apparel brand Rockets of Awesome, came on the heels a $100 million minority investment in premium-sneaker resell platform Goat Group. Other recent investments by Foot Locker include women’s luxury activewear brand Carbon38, children’s lifestyle brand Super Heroic and footwear design academy Pensole.

Foot Locker reported net income of $158 million, or $1.39 a share, in the quarter ended Feb. 2, compared to a loss of $49 million, or 40 cents a share, in the year-age period when it booked charges including a tax charge. Adjusted per-share earnings came to $1.56, easily besting the Street estimate of $1.40.

Sales rose 2.8% to $2.27 billion, ahead of analysts’ estimates of $2.18 billion. Same-store sales surged 9.7%, more than double expectations.

For the full year, sales rose 2% to $7.93 billion at the highest in the company’s history. Full-year comparable-store sales rose 2.7%.

“The fundamentals of our core business remain strong and led to meaningful improvement in our financial results, not only during the fourth quarter but throughout 2018,” stated CEO Richard Johnson. “Looking at 2019, we believe that by maintaining our focus on bringing differentiated experiences to youth culture, we can continue to elevate our financial performance by generating a mid-single digit comparable sales gain and another double-digit percentage increase in earnings per share.”

As of February 2, 2019, Foot Locker operated 3,221 stores in 27 countries in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. In addition, 112 franchised Foot Locker stores were operating in the Middle East, as well as 10 franchised Runners Point stores in Germany.

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