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Foot Locker (FL) posted stronger-than-expected third quarter earnings Friday as same store sales topped analysts' forecast after a solid August quarter for Nike Inc. (NKE)

Shares in the group traded lower, however, after it forecast flat comparable store sales for the Christmas quarter and a 10 to 30 basis point erosion in its gross profit margin.

Foot Locker said earnings for the three months ending on November 2 came in at $1.13 per share, down one penny from the same period last year but 5 cents ahead of the Street consensus forecast. Group revenues, Footlocker said, rose 3.9% to $1.932 billion, just shy of analysts' estimates of a $1.94 billion tally, although same-store sales rose by 5.7%, a full percentage point ahead of the Refinitiv forecast.

"We are pleased with our performance in the quarter, which reflects the success of our strategic focus on building even deeper connections with our customers and further strengthening relationships with our vendors," said CEO Richard Johnson. "Across the Company, we are making great strides in implementing our four strategic imperatives, which are designed to ensure we are best positioned to compete in the retail marketplace by inspiring and empowering youth culture while also strengthening our bottom line and driving value for our shareholders."

Foot Locker shares were marked 4% lower in the opening half hour of trading Friday to change hands at $39.73 each, a move that would extend the stock's year-to-date decline to around 25.5%.

Nike which contributes around 70% of Foot Locker revenues, said its sales in the three months ending in August rose 7% to $10.7 billion on a currency-neutral basis. 

China sales rose 22% from last year, Nike said, a figure that rises to 27% when the impact of the stronger U.S. dollar is stripped out of the final reading. North American sales rose 4%, a modestly softer-than-expected reading for Nike's home market, but that figure was offset by both a surge in women's apparel sales and a big improvement in the group's gross profit margin.