Updated from 8:24 a.m. EST

Foot Locker

(FL) - Get Report

started the new year on the right foot, raising earnings guidance for its fourth quarter.

The company says it will earn 41 cents to 45 cents a share, vs. the Thomson First Call consensus estimate of 43 cents a share and 33 cents a share in the year-ago period.

Recently, shares were up $1.03, or 4.4%, at $24.55.

The New York-based athletic retailer Monday also said it expects same-store sales growth of 4% to 6%, at the high end of its expectations.

"Comparable-store sales trends, which strengthened significantly in late December, have continued to accelerate during January," the company said.

Foot Locker, which already operates stores in Europe, said it plans to expand into Ireland, Hungary and Czech Republic in 2004.

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