Foot Locker beats big on earnings

Foot Locker posted first-quarter results Friday morning that easily beat Wall Street estimates, sending shares up more than 15% in premarket trading.

The sneaker retailer earned an adjusted $US1.45 a share on revenue of $US2.03 billion. Those numbers were ahead of the $US1.25 and $US1.96 billion that analysts surveyed by Bloomberg were expecting. While comparable sales slide 2.8%, that was better than the 3.6% drop that was anticipated.

Foot Locker says its gross margin rate fell to 32.9% from 34% a year ago as general expenses increased while it built out its digital operations.

“The flow of premium product continues to improve, with increasing breadth and depth in the most sought after styles from our key vendors,” Foot Locker’s chairman and CEO, Richard Johnson, said in the earnings release.

“This led to first-quarter results which were above our expectations. With the strength of our strategic vendor partnerships and our central position in youth culture, we continue to believe that we are poised to inflect to positive comparable-store sales growth as we progress through the year.”

Foot Locker in March announced plans to close 110 stores this year, after it closed 117 stores last year. The sneaker retailer is one of many such businesses to have fallen victim to Amazon and the e-commerce wave.

Through Thursday, shares were down 22% this year and more than 40% since peaking in December 2016.

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