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Foot Locker (FL) Scores in the Third Quarter

Stocks in this article: FL

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Retail might be having a hard time of it, with earnings disappointments Sears (SHLD), GAP (GPS), and Dollar Tree  (DLTR), but outlier, Foot Locker (FL), managed to walk all over the competition in its most recent quarter.

The athletic retailer reported third-quarter adjusted earnings of 68 cents a share, 2 cents higher than analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters were expecting. Revenue of $1.62 billion was 6.4% higher than the year-ago quarter and exceeded consensus by $50 million.

Comparable-store sales were up 4.1%, a considerable boost from the second quarter's 1.8% gain. As of Nov. 2, the company's merchandise inventory totaled $1,316 million, 6% more than its value at the close of the third quarter 2012.

Since February, Foot Locker has consolidated its U.S.-based stores, reducing the number of store fronts by 16, while increasing international storefronts by 208. In the 12 months from October 2012, the New York-based apparel store has increased its total store count by 4.2% to 3,510 corporately operated stores. 

"The team at Foot Locker, Inc. is continuing to identify new opportunities and develop ideas further in order to leverage our strengths and build an even stronger business. Some of these ideas deliver immediate impact, some will help improve results in the next several quarters, and yet others have the potential to drive our performance over the longer term," said CEO Ken C. Hicks in a statement.

In premarket trading, shares had kicked 3.5% higher to $38.05. Year to date, the stock is up 14.5%, shy of the S&P 500's 25.92% gain.

TheStreet Ratings team rates Foot Locker Inc as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. The team has this to say about its recommendation:

"We rate Foot Locker Inc (FL) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its growth in earnings per share, revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, reasonable valuation levels and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins."

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