Foot Locker Inc.’s shares surged 5.7 percent in pre-market trading and continued to climb Friday after the athletic-shoe retailer reported a 25 percent increase in profits compared with the year-ago quarter. Profits for the quarter ended Jan. 31, 2015, totaled $146 million, or $1.01 per diluted share, beating Wall Street estimates of 91 cents per share.
Sales for the quarter rose 6.7 percent, to $1.91 billion, compared with the year-ago quarter’s sales of $1.79 billion.
“Our strong top-line performance was accompanied by continued discipline in managing expenses,” said CFO Lauren Peters in a statement. “As a result, we set many records for our company in 2014, including increasing our gross margin rate to 33.2 percent of sales and improving our annual SG&A expense rate to below 20 percent for the first time.”
The company also hit its highest-ever annual sales and profits. For fiscal year 2014, the New York-based retailer reported profit of $520 million, or $3.56 per diluted share, compared with $429 million, or $2.85 per share, in 2013.
Total sales for the year rose 10 percent, to $7.15 billion, from last year’s $6.5 billion.
In 2014, Foot Locker generated its fifth consecutive double-digit percentage increase in annual earnings per share and its fourth consecutive year of record earnings.
The company will release its financial strategy for the next several years at an investor meeting next week in New York.