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Foot Locker, Inc. (FL), Fossil Group Inc (FOSL), Dicks Sporting Goods Inc (DKS): These Specialty Retailers Have Proven Their Worth

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Foot Locker, Inc. (NYSE:FL)The resilience of the American consumer is truly a thing to marvel. With the unemployment rate still stubbornly high, the ongoing sequester, and the payroll tax hike, you’d think the consumer in the United States would be down for the count.

Quite the contrary: in fact, although this month’s retail sales unexpectedly declined, it’s been an overall solid year for retail sales. And, when you consider that the housing markets and overall economy in the United States continue to improve (albeit slowly), you can see a relatively bright future ahead for the American consumer.

In that vein, here are three specialty retailers racking up impressive sales growth, with incredibly sound balance sheets to boot.

These specialty retailers are firing on all cylinders

Foot Locker, Inc. (NYSE:FL) is a $5 billion retailer of athletic footwear and apparel. Foot Locker, Inc. (NYSE:FL) is a hidden gem among retailers that likely goes unnoticed by most investors. However, its excellent underlying business should make any Foolish investor take notice.

Foot Locker, Inc. (NYSE:FL) racked up impressive comparable-store sales growth of 5.2% in the first quarter, and 8.4% earnings per share growth.

The company’s first-quarter results followed an outstanding 2012. Foot Locker, Inc. (NYSE:FL) reported fiscal 2012 net income of $2.47 per share, which represented a 36% improvement year over year. Same-store sales increased 9.4% last year.

Making things even better, the company is generous to its shareholders. Foot Locker, Inc. (NYSE:FL) recently increased its dividend 11%. The new $0.80 per share annualized dividend represents a yield of nearly 2.2% for new investors.

And, Foot Locker, Inc. (NYSE:FL) is in tremendous financial condition. Its balance sheet is sparkling clean, evidenced by the fact that the company has more than $1.1 billion in cash and short-term investments with only $132 million in debt on the books.

Not to be outdone, earlier this year, consumer fashion company Fossil Group Inc (NASDAQ:FOSL) reported record fourth-quarter and fiscal 2012 results. During the quarter, net sales and earnings per share increased 14% and 34%, respectively. Earnings per share for the full year hit a record $5.59, rising 21% from the year before.

The good news didn’t stop there: Fossil Group Inc (NASDAQ:FOSL) reported a huge first-quarter just a couple months ago. The company’s net sales and EPS jumped 15% and 30%, respectively. Both metrics represented new records for the company.

Fossil Group Inc (NASDAQ:FOSL)’s business is so sound because it performs strongly in all of its key markets. This is no one-trick pony: Fossil saw double-digit sales growth in North America, Europe, and Asia in the first quarter.

And, Fossil Group Inc (NASDAQ:FOSL)’s fortunes should only improve for the remainder of the year. For the full fiscal year 2013, the company expects net sales growth of at least 10%.

Like Foot Locker, Fossil has a great balance sheet, with almost twice as much cash and equivalents as long-term debt. Furthermore, Fossil Group Inc (NASDAQ:FOSL) holds a long-term debt to equity ratio of just 12%.

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