(By Balachander) Foot Locker Inc. (NYSE:FL), a retailer of athletic footwear and apparel, reported stronger-than-forecast quarterly earnings, helped by 9.8 percent jump in comparable store sales and improvement in margins. Shares rose 3.83 percent in premarket trading.
Earnings increased to $59 million or 39 cents per share for the second quarter from $37 million or 24 cents per share in the year-ago quarter. The company posted non-GAAP earnings per share of 38 cents.
Sales grew 7.2 percent to $1.37 billion. Excluding currency impact, sales rose 10.6 percent.
Wall Street analysts, on average, expected earnings per share of 33 cents on sales of $1.35 billion.
Gross margin improved 90 basis points to 31.3 percent from 30.4 percent.
At the end of the second quarter, New York-based Foot Locker's cash and short-term investments totaled $820 million. Total cash position, net of debt, was $142 million higher than the year-ago period.
As of July 28, 2012, the company operated 3,354 stores in 23 countries in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.
FL shares ended Thursday's regular trading at $34.49. The stock has been trading between $17.18 and $34.92 over the past year.