Foot Locker Shares Trip on Cloudy Forecast

Andrew Klips  |

Shares of Foot Locker Inc. (FL) are walking lower Friday after the specialty athletic retailer posted fourth quarter earnings that were in line with expectations, but missed on full year 2012 earnings and provided a vague forecast for this year.

The NYC-based company reported revenue of $1.71 billion for the latest quarter, benefiting from an extra week of sales, ahead of $1.5 billion in the year prior quarter.  The latest quarter had 14 weeks, compared to 13 in the 2011 quarter.  On a GAAP basis, Foot Locker reported profits of $104 million, or 68 cents per share, compared to $81 million, or 53 cents per share in the year prior quarter.  Excluding an impairment charge related to its CCS division, adjusted earnings were $111 million, or 73 cents per share, against $84 million, or 55 cents per share, in Q4 2011.

The results were basically on target with Wall Street predictions of EPS of 73 cents and revenue of $1.69 billion.

With the benefit of the extra week, fourth-quarter comparable-store sales increased 7.9 percent.

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"With the momentum we built from executing our strategic initiatives, the team at Foot Locker, Inc. was able to drive our sales and profits substantially higher than last year's record results," said Ken C. Hicks, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Foot Locker, Inc.

Including the extra week in the full fiscal year 2012, Foot Locker reported net income of $397 million, or $2.58 per share.  Excluding charges, tax benefits totaling and the extra week, full-year non-GAAP net income was $380 million in 2012, or $2.47 per share, an increase of 36 percent over the non-GAAP $1.82 per share recorded in 2011.  Total sales rose 9.9 percent in 2012 from 2011 to $6.18 billion, including 1.5 percent lost due to currency exchanges.

Wall Street was expecting non-GAAP earnings of $2.57 per share and $6.14 billion in revenue.

Comparable-store sales increased 9.4 percent in 2012.

Looking ahead seems to be what disappointed investors Friday morning.  The company offered no guidance except for Hick’s commentary, "We believe that we can continue to build on this momentum and deliver a double digit percentage earnings per share gain for full-year 2013, compared to our 2012 non-GAAP results of $2.47 per share."

At 10 percent, that’s $2.72 per share.  Analysts were forecasting earnings of 15 percent, or $2.83 per share.

The ambiguity has helped tip shares, which were up almost 20 percent in the past 52 weeks, downward by more than 7 percent in Friday morning trading, after closing Thursday at $35.31.

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