Foot Locker, Inc. (FL - Analyst Report) continues with its strong run on the index. The company hit a 52-week high of $50.14 per share before closing at $49.63 per share. So far in 2014, the stock price has increased nearly 23% supported by its long-term growth initiatives, solid quarterly results and impressive shareholder return policy.
Headquartered in New York City, Foot Locker is an athletic footwear and apparel retailer. To improve overall performance in the long-run, the company has undertaken several initiatives. The company continues to utilize opportunities presented by its children’s business, its shop-in-shop expansion in collaboration with its vendors, development of its store banner.com and enhancement of its assortments, which might help it to reach new heights in the coming years.
Going forward, Foot Locker intends to work on its store restructuring plans, increase its investments in technology in Europe and expand its Women’s business, which makes management optimistic about achieving its operational objectives.
Moreover, this year, with the world going soccer crazy, this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock is poised to benefit from increased demand for soccer gear.
Foot Locker, which competes with Nike, Inc. (NKE - Analyst Report) and Under Armour, Inc. (UA - Analyst Report), has already made a great start to the year. The company reported first quarter fiscal 2014 adjusted earnings of $1.11 a share surging 22% year over year and comfortably beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.06 per share. Driven by a 7.6% rise in comparable-store sales (comps), sales for the quarter improved 14% year over year to $1,868.0 million and easily surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1,784.0 million.
On an average, the stock has delivered positive earnings surprise of 15.2% over the past 14 quarters.
Given the solid quarter, the company reiterated its outlook for fiscal 2014. It continues to envision quarterly mid-single digit growth in comps and a double digit rise in earnings per share for the ongoing fiscal. This has triggered an uptrend in the estimates. Estimates for fiscal 2014 and 2015 increased 2.5% and 2.0% to $3.30 and $3.62 per share, respectively, over the past 30 days.
Apart from delivering strong top-line and bottom-line growth, the company is also known for its shareholder-friendly moves. In fiscal year 2013, the company bought back 6.4 million shares worth $229 million, which includes 1.6 million shares repurchased in the fourth quarter.
Additionally, management hiked its quarterly dividend by 10% to 22 cents a share and also approved a capital expenditure worth $220 million for fiscal 2014. This further instills confidence among investors as dividend hikes reflect a company’s sound financial position and healthy cash flow.
Apart from Foot Locker, Colgate-Palmolive Co. (CL - Analyst Report) also hit 52-week high of $69.47, on the last trading day.