Foot Locker’s (FL) earnings jumped 17% in the first quarter, as the athletic apparel retailer benefited from stronger sales and margins.
The results easily beat Wall Street estimates, sending shares 2.8% higher to $49.50 in pre-market trading on Friday.
Foot Locker reported a profit of $162 million, or $1.10 a share, compared to $138 million, or 90 cents a share, in the year-ago period. On an adjusted basis, per-share earnings climbed 20 cents to $1.11.
Revenue grew 14% to $1.87 billion. Gross margin widened to 34.6% from 34.2%, even as input costs were up 13% year-over-year.
Analysts were looking for adjusted earnings of $1.06 a share and revenue of $1.79 billion.
“We are off to a great start in 2014, with our first quarter results representing the highest quarterly sales and profits in our history as an athletic company -- for the third consecutive year,” chairman and CEO Ken Hicks said in a statement.
Sales at Foot Locker and smaller rival Finish Line (FINL) have been lifted by strong demand for sneakers and sports apparel, fueled by new offerings from apparel makers like Nike (NKE). Foot Locker also acquired Runners Point Group, a specialty athletic store and online retailer based in Germany, for $254 million last year.
In the period ended May 3, Foot Locker’s same-store sales increased 7.6%, bucking a downward trend in the retail industry. Many retailers have said severe winter weather hampered results for the first three months of the year.