Canadian sportswear retailer The Forzani Group has posted fiscal 2009 net earnings of CAD$29.3m, a 38.2% decrease compared with 2008 but satisfying the company's management amid a retail slowdown.

Retail sales for the 52 weeks were $1.6bn, a $49.5m increase from sales for fiscal 2008. Same-store sales in corporate stores decreased 3.5%, while franchise stores increased 3.1%, with a total same-store retail system sales decrease of 1.1%.

Net earnings for the fourth quarter were $24.2m, a 15.7% decrease compared to Q1 last year. Retail sales for the quarter were $506.9m, a decrease of 3.4% from the prior year 14-week sales of $524.7m.

Quarterly same-store sales in corporate locations were down 8.1% and up 0.4% in franchise locations, for an overall same-store sales decrease of 5.1%.

The company's management said: "Against a backdrop of the very significant economic challenges in recent quarters, particularly in the Canadian retail industry, the company is satisfied with its performance in the fourth quarter, given the widespread deterioration in consumer confidence, especially when viewed against what was a record, extended 14 week quarter in the prior year."

For the first nine weeks of the first quarter of the company's fiscal 2010 year, Forzani's overall retail system sales increased 1.5% relative to the same period in fiscal 2009.

The company said corporate margins declined versus prior year as continuing winter weather across the country hampered sales of spring products in these weeks.

The company's working capital of $79.8m declined 36.2% or $45.3m from the prior year during 2009. The year over year decrease was the result of $44.0m in share repurchases during fiscal 2009, the company said.