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Foot Locker Posts Strong Results

FL   Foot Locker, Inc. (NYSE: FL – $71.40) a retailer of athletic shoes and apparel, reported financial results for the second quarter that topped analyst expectations. Adjusted net income for the period was $0.84 per share, up from $0.64 per share in the prior year period and higher than the $0.69 per share Street estimate. Total revenue increased 3% to $1.7 billion, hurt by the strong U.S. dollar but ahead of analysts’ consensus of $1.67 billion. Comparable store sales increased 9.6%, vs. expectations of a 6% increase. Foot Locker’s European operations helped drive growth, while the apparel business also showed signs of improving. Store traffic increased, as did average selling prices. Foot Locker says customers remain willing to pay up for premium footwear, so pricing growth seems unlikely to decelerate in the second half of the year. The retailer maintained its full-year sales guidance, calling for same-store sales to rise at mid-single-digit rates — but added that results could come in near the high-end of that range. Management expects per-share profits to grow by double-digits in the second half of the year. Rising analyst estimates currently call for growth of 13% in the October quarter and 12% in January quarter. Looking further out, management says the turnaround in apparel should help boost companywide profit margins. At 17 times consensus full-year earnings of $4.04, Foot Locker shares, one of the few bright spots of late, trade roughly in line with the median for S&P 1500 apparel retailers, despite the company’s superior growth prospects, and positions can be maintained.


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