Venator Group In. said net income nearly tripled in the fiscal first quarter, fuelled by strong sales of basketball sneakers and private-label apparel, as well as improved operating efficiencies. For the quarter ended May 5, the operator of such retail chains as Footlocker and Champs Sports, posted net income of $37m, or 27 cents a diluted share, compared with $13m, or 10 cents a share, in the year-earlier period.