Foot Locker’s (NYSE:FL) earnings jumped 17% in the first quarter, as the athletic apparel retailer benefited from stronger sales and margins.
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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 (NASDAQ:FINL) have been lifted by strong demand for sneakers and sports apparel, fueled by new offerings from apparel makers like Nike (NYSE: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.