Foot Locker slides after ‘cautious approach’ to holiday season

Foot Locker shares fell more than 4 percent after the company’s third-quarter profit beat analysts’ expectations, but offered modest holiday season guidance.

The athletic wear retailer reported a better-than-expected net income of $251.2 million, or $1.27 per share, on sales of $1.75 billion, for the quarter ended July 28. Analysts on average had projected $1.23 per share on sales of $1.75 billion, according to data compiled by FactSet.

Foot Locker saw same-store sales growth of 6.2 percent for the quarter. “We took a cautious approach to the holiday season and avoided promotions to drive value for our customers,” CEO Richard Johnson said in a statement. “As a result, we had a strong July comp, and July was our 16th consecutive month of positive comps.”

But the company forecast a higher fourth-quarter net income of 95 cents per share, compared with analysts’ projections of $1.04 per share. It also guided for gross margins of 33.3 percent to 33.5 percent, the company said.

Shares fell 4.4 percent to $38.32 Wednesday morning in New York. They have gained 11 percent in the past 12 months.

The company said that it also has plans to increase its share buyback program for the fourth time this year. The new program, announced Tuesday, will have an expiration date in the year 2023.

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