A weak performance in its US businesses has led to a 71% slump in first quarter profit at athletic footwear retailer Foot Locker Inc.

Net income for the three months to 5 May was $17m, or $0.11 per share, compared with $59m, or $0.38 per share, last year.

The New York-based specialty retailer today (24 May) said sales fell 3.6% to $1.32bn from $1.37bn last time. First quarter same-store sales decreased 5.1%.

"Our first quarter financial results reflected a weak performance in each of our U.S. businesses partially offset by a solid profit increase at our international operations," said Matthew D Serra, chairman and chief executive officer.

"Because of the disappointing sales at our US stores, we increased our promotional posture to help clear older goods and reduce inventory levels. As a result, our gross margin in our US store businesses fell significantly short of our plan."
The company said it expects second quarter earnings to be in the range of $0.15 to $0.20 per share, including higher markdowns to clear inventory for the autumn season.

Full year earnings are expected to be in the range of $1.15 to $1.25 per share.

Foot Locker yesterday (22 May) said it was teaming up with Nike to jointly develop a new retail concept called House of Hoops by Foot Locker, to bring "all things basketball" to as many as 50 stores in the US over the next three years.