Foot Locker Posts Loss on Weak U.S. Biz

Foot Locker Inc. swung to a third-quarter net loss from a profit the year before on a 7 percent decline in sales.

The New York-based firm had a loss of $6 million, or 4 cents a diluted share, versus net income of $24 million, or 16 cents, the prior year. Results in the latest quarter included a write-down of $22 million.

Excluding the write-down, the firm said it would have earned $16 million, or 10 cents. On this basis, analysts were expecting a profit of 12 cents.

Quarterly sales fell to $1.21 billion from $1.31 billion a year ago. Comparable-store sales fell 8.2 percent.

“Our success in reducing expenses and tightly managing inventory helped to offset lower-than-anticipated sales in our U.S. operations,” Ken Hicks, president and CEO, said in a written statement released last Thursday after the close of the market.

“The financial results at our international operations were far more encouraging, particularly as we experienced a favorable sales trend improvement in Europe as we progressed through the quarter and continuing sales gains in the Asia-Pacific region. We are also pleased with our strong internally generated cash flow and quarter-end financial position.”

Foot Locker said it had cash and short-term investments totaling $438 million and that inventories were down nearly 3 percent at the quarter’s end year-over-year. The retailer opened 33 new stores, remodeled or relocated 130 stores and closed 73 during the first nine months of the fiscal year, bringing its total to 3,601 locations worldwide.

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