An economic upturn sent more customers to La Cañada Flintridge-based Sport Chalet Inc. stores in the past year, an official from the sporting goods chain announced last week.

"Sales were higher across all of our channels," Craig Levra, Sport Chalet's chairman and chief executive, said during a teleconference on May 23, adding that the company closed the fiscal year "on a strong note."

Sales rose to $360.6 million in the fiscal year that ended on March 31, a 3.1% increase from 2012. Figures also show that customers bought more items both in-store and online since April 2012. Fourth-quarter sales increased to $87.8 million compared to the $81.9 million reported during the same period last year. Online sales continued to be a driving force for the company, rising 20% in the fourth quarter and 21.5% overall during the last year.

The company also increased its comparable store sales for the first time in six years, rising 3.7% since April of last year to $12.2 million.

Levra said he was encouraged by the results and is optimistic about the opening of a new 27,300-square-foot store this summer in downtown Los Angeles at Figueroa and 7th streets. The store will be located next to a City Target store and a variety of other shops at the newly-renovated FIGat7th retail center.

"We believe this store sets the stage for our next generation of growth," he said. "We are well positioned to compete and succeed in 2013 and beyond."

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