Foot Locker (FL 0.66%) shareholders beat the market last month, as their stock gained 20% compared to a 1.8% increase in the S&P 500, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.
The increase put shares back in solidly positive territory for the year, despite having been down by as much as 12% in early spring.
November's rally was sparked by third-quarter earnings results that showed gathering momentum in Foot Locker's retailing business. Comparable-store sales rose 2.9% to mark the second straight quarter of improvement for this key growth metric. Profitability increased, too, which management said was due to a boost in full-price selling. The results, taken with its positive second-quarter announcement, suggest its rebound is in full swing.
Foot Locker must execute well during the competitive holiday season, when even minor stumbles can have an outsize impact on full-year earnings. However, trends through late October gave management confidence to increase their outlook so that comps are expected to rise in the low-to-mid single digits while gross profit margin expands by more than a full percentage point. Those gains should translate into modest sales growth for the year and a double-digit jump in earnings per share.