Sports retailer Foot Locker is trimming its capital spending after slipping to a fourth quarter loss of US$126m, thanks to one-off charges and falling sales.

Including a $9m downward income tax adjustment to last year's figures, the loss for the three months to 31 January compared to a profit of $72m for the same period last year.

However, Foot Locker pointed out that underlying income - excluding the charges - was $38m, versus $24m last year.

Fourth quarter sales fell 11.1% to $1.317bn, with comparable store sales down 7.3%.

"Our fourth quarter sales reflected a very challenging external environment, as consumer spending weakened and mall traffic declined," said chairman and CEO Matthew D Serra.

For the full year, Foot Locker posted a net loss of $81m, compared to last year's profit of $38m.

Excluding charges, underlying income was $104m, versus $55m last year. Sales fell 3.7% to $5.237bn, while comparable store sales declined 3.2%.

Responding to what it termed "the challenging external environment", Foot Locker is cutting its 2009 capital spending to $100m, also reducing operating expenses and merchandise inventory purchases.

"We believe that planning our business conservatively is the most appropriate strategy for 2009, given the weak economic conditions that currently exist in the global marketplace," said Serra.

Foot Locker gave no earnings guidance for 2009, citing economic uncertainty.