Foot Locker Inc is shifting its demographic focus a bit and will open a new nameplate, Footquarters, offering value-priced family footwear.

Foot Locker plans to open 30 stores next spring, "with a further rapid expansion plan possible thereafter," according to a company release.

The news about the launch of Footquarters came as the New York-based specialty footwear chain reported marginal changes in profits and sales during the third quarter, with the former down slightly and the latter up just a bit more.

For the three months ended 28 October, net income was US$65m, or 42 cents a share, down from $66m, or 42 cents. Excluding special items, year-ago EPS was 41 cents.

Sales inched up 1.6% to $1.43bn from $1.41bn, while same-store sales dropped 0.3%.

Matthew Serra, chairman and chief executive officer, stated: "While our comparable-store sales continued to be negatively affected by a challenging athletic retail market in Europe, we were able to stabilise our earnings in this region versus the comparable period of last year and capitalise on business opportunities in other areas where we operate."

In addition to the move into the family value tier, Foot Locker plans to open its first Champs Sports Just Hats store this month in the Miami International Mall.

For the nine months, net income fell 17.9% to $138m, or 88 cents, from $168m, or $1.07 a share. Sales were up 0.2%, to $4.10bn, but comps fell 0.4%.

At the end of the quarter, Foot Locker operated 3,935 stores in 20 countries. Its brands include Foot Locker, Footaction, Lady Foot Locker and Champs.
By Arnold J Karr.