After reporting a loss of $18 million in the second quarter of 2007, Foot Locker came back with a profit of $18 million for the same period ended last Aug. 2. Sales were up by 1.5 percent to $1.3 billion even though comparable-store sales were down by 0.5 percent. The gross margin went up by 4.2 percentage points to 27.7 percent. The improvements were attributed to fewer markdowns than previously anticipated.

Business was described as difficult in Europe, where sales dropped by middle single-digits, while Asia-Pacific had comparable store sales up in the single digits and higher-than-expected profit. Higher-priced technical men’s footwear was strong in Europe, with solid gains, but men’s and women’s fashion shoes pulled the numbers down. Apparel and accessories seemed to be improving in Europe with sales for the quarter remaining flat but with growth in men’s branded outerwear, hats and bags.

As of Aug. 2, the chain has 3,728 stores in North America, Europe and Australia, as well as 14 franchises in the Middle East and South Korea.