NEW YORK CITY-Foot Locker’s management expects to close 250 of its 4,000 stores this year, twice the number that were previously forecast. The company has also retained Lehman Brothers to assist in evaluating strategic alternatives, including a buyout by a private-equity firm.

Executives now expect a second-quarter loss of between 17 cents and 20 cents per share due to the clearance of merchandise inventory. Their previous estimate for the period, which will be reported Aug. 22, was a gain of 15 cents to 20 cents.

After store closures, management predicts profitable results starting next year. Additionally, the company is ramping up its Foot Locker Europe division, with plans to open 30 stores on the continent next year.

In May, Foot Locker withdrew a $51-per-share bid to acquire footwear retailer and wholesaler Genesco after that company had refused the offer. Foot Locker competitor Finish Line ended up making a successful $2.8-billion bid that was agreed up last month.

During its first quarter, which ended May 5, Foot Locker’s same-store sales fell 5.1% year over year, while total sales dropped 3.6%, to just over $1.3 billion. The company earned $17 million, down from $59 million during the same year-ago period.

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