California-based marketer and retailer of activewear and casual sportswear, Big Dog Holdings Inc, on Thursday posted flat fourth quarter earnings per share of 44 cents amid lower mall traffic.

The company said full year earnings per share rose to 45 cents from 31 cents in 2001 with net sales for the final quarter down 11.6 per cent to $35.3 million from $40m and down 3.2 per cent for the year to $108.8m from $112.4m.

It added it has been told by NASDAQ its share price has fallen below the minimum threshold for listing and has until May 28 to meet the minimum requirement.

CEO Andrew Feshbach said: "Although we started 2002 well, the latter part of the year was a challenging economic period for retailers and Big Dogs. We saw consistently lower traffic at our malls especially in the fourth quarter.

”We have taken every opportunity to strengthen our balance sheet, maximise results and operate efficiently. Our merchandising margins remain strong as we experienced a shift from promotional sales to higher-margined T-shirt sales.

"So far, 2003 has continued at the same pace as the fourth quarter but recent sales trends have begun to improve and we have a positive outlook for the coming year."