Standard & Poor's raised its outlook on Foot Locker Inc. to positive from stable, citing the specialty athletic footwear retailer's strengthened credit metrics due to revenue increases and margin gains.

The ratings firm said it expects Foot Locker to post modest operational gains in the near term and may benefit from recent merchandising improvements, better inventory controls and reduced markdown activity, especially in footwear.

“Although we anticipate that growth is likely to slow over the near term because of macroeconomic headwinds, we expect it to remain positive,” said analyst David Kuntz.

Standard & Poor's also affirmed all of its ratings on the company, including its double-B-minus corporate credit rating, which is three notches below investment-grade territory.