Venator Group In. said net income nearly tripled in the fiscal first quarter, fuelled by strong sales of basketball sneakers and private-label apparel, as well as improved operating efficiencies.

For the quarter ended May 5, the operator of such retail chains as Footlocker and Champs Sports, posted net income of $37m, or 27 cents a diluted share, compared with $13m, or 10 cents a share, in the year-earlier period.

On an adjusted basis, which excludes noncore units that Venator, New York, has sold or plans to sell, the company posted earnings of $34m, or 24 cents a diluted share, compared with $27m, or 20 cents a share.

Results beat a consensus of analysts' estimate of 23 cents a share, according to Thomson Financial/First Call.

Sales rose 2.7 per cent to $1.07bn. On an adjusted basis, sales rose 3.8 per cent to $1.06bn.