Sportswear company The Sports Authority Inc, which merged with sports retailer Gart Sports in 2003, has reported an increase in its third-quarter net losses.

Third-quarter loss totalled $2.2 million, or $0.09 per diluted share, including the effect of after-tax merger integration expenses of $2.9m, or $0.11 per diluted share. This compares to a net loss of $0.31 per diluted share in the third quarter of 2003, which included the effect of after-tax merger integration costs of $12.0m, or $0.49 per diluted share.

Without the effect of integration costs, third-quarter net income totalled $0.7m, or $0.03 per diluted share, compared to $4.4m, or $0.17 per diluted share, in third quarter of 2003.

Third-quarter sales were $545.0m compared with $552.5m in the same quarter last year.Third quarter same-store sales fell 1.9 per cent from last year's results.

The company opened 7 new stores and shut 3 stores during the third-quarter, bringing its total number of stores to 390 as of 30 October 2004.

Doug Morton, chairman and chief executive officer of the Sports Authority said: "We are pleased with our ability to achieve results within our previous guidance range, despite the impact of four hurricanes in the south east which affected a significant number of stores during the quarter."

The Sports Authority sells sports equipment, general merchandise, shoes, and apparel in its store throughout the US, as well as its online catalogue and joint retail venture in Japan.