Q4 Back in the Black for Foot Locker

Foot Locker Inc. swung to a fourth-quarter profit from a year-ago loss, thanks to improved sales and expense controls.

The company said after the close of the stock market Wednesday that for the three months ended Jan. 30, it had net income of $23 million, or 14 cents a share, versus a loss of $125 million, or 81 cents, the prior year. Results in the latest quarter included $16 million in inventory write-downs, restructuring charges and an income tax adjustment.

On an adjusted basis, the New York-based firm earned $39 million, or 24 cents — missing analysts’ estimates by a penny and coming in flat against year-earlier adjusted earnings.

Sales rose slightly to $1.33 billion from $1.32 billion last year.

“We experienced an improving sales trend in both our U.S. and international operations as we progressed through the fourth quarter, including a comparable-store sales increase for the month of January that has continued through the month of February,” Ken Hicks, Foot Locker chairman and CEO, said in a written statement. “I am pleased with our operational execution during the quarter as we managed our inventories effectively and maintained tight expense controls.”

For the year, Foot Locker earned $48 million, or 30 cents, compared with a loss of $80 million, or 52 cents, last year. The company’s annual sales were $4.85 billion, down from $5.24 billion.

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