The Forzani Group Ltd., Canada’s largest retailer of sporting goods, today reported slightly higher sales for the fiscal 2009 “Back to School” selling season. Retail system sales for the seven-week period ended Sept. 21, 2008 increased 0.8% over the same period last year.

Overall same store sales for the seven-week period were flat as the benefit of the earlier labour day and return to school-previously reported was tempered by continued, reined-in consumer spending patterns. Corporate same store sales were down 2% against the prior year.

On a regional basis, western comparative store sales were flat while eastern store sales, predominantly in Ontario, were down 3.2%. Franchise store sales, predominantly in Quebec, increased 3.5% for the seven-week period. Softgoods sales outpaced hardgoods and footwear.