Foot Locker is off to a slow start. The specialty athletic footwear retailer announced Friday weaker than expected earnings for Q1 due to delayed income tax refunds and slow March and April sales.
Net income for the company’s first quarter ended April 29, 2017 was $180 million, or $1.36 per share, compared with net income of $191 million, or $1.39 per share in the same period of 2016.
First quarter comparable-store sales increased 0.5 percent. Total sales increased 0.7 percent, to $2,001 million this year, compared with sales of $1,987 million for the corresponding prior-year period.
“The first quarter was one of our most profitable quarters ever, but it did fall short of our original expectations,” said Richard Johnson, Foot Locker Chairman of the Board and CEO, in a statement. “The slow start we experienced in February, which we believe was largely due to the delay in income tax refunds, was unfortunately not fully offset by much stronger sales in March and April.”
Foot Locker’s merchandise inventories were 1.5% higher than at the end of the first quarter last year. The company closed 39 stores and opened 30 new stores during the first quarter.
Lauren Peters, Foot Locker executive vice president and chief financial officer, urges that the company’s “overall financial position remains very strong.” Peters credits the retailer’s “tight inventory discipline” it has maintained over the last several years as why it is still positioned to drive improved top line results over the balance of the year.