• Quarterly profit of $23m or $0.14 per share
  • Sales edged up 0.6% to $1,325m
  • Sees improving sales trend

Athletic retailer Foot Locker Inc has swung to a fourth quarter profit, after tight control of costs and inventories helped offset charges and slow sales.

“We experienced an improving sales trend in both our US and international operations as we progressed through the fourth quarter, including a comparable-store sales increase for the month of January that has continued through the month of February,” said chairman and CEO Ken C Hicks.

The company also took steps during the quarter to consolidate its Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker, Kids Foot Locker and Footaction operations under one management team.

And it closed 106 underproductive stores and axed 120 jobs.

The New York based firm, said net income for the three months to 30 January was $23m or $0.14 per share, compared with a loss of $125m or $0.81 per share, in the same period last year.

Excluding $16m of inventory write-downs, restructuring charges, and a tax adjustment, adjusted earnings were $39m or $0.24 per share, the retailer said.

Sales edged up 0.6% to $1,325m, but same-store sales dropped 2.3%.

For the fiscal year, profit rose to $48m or $0.30 per share, including charges. This compared with a net loss of $80m or $0.52 per share a year ago. 

Full year sales were down 7.3% to $4,854m, down from $5,237m last time.

The company operates 3,500 stores in 21 countries in North America, Europe and Australia, along with 22 franchised stores in the Middle East and South Korea.