Reebok International (NYSE: RBK) reported net income for the third quarter ended Sept. 30 of $53 million or 81 cents per diluted share, an earnings per share increase of 23 percent when compared to net income of $42 million, or 66 cents per diluted share in the third quarter of 2001. Net sales for the 2002 third quarter were $912 million, an increase of 8 percent from 2001 net sales of $847 million. For the Reebok Brand, worldwide sales in the 2002 third quarter increased 9 percent to $768 million. In the United States, sales of the Reebok Brand increased 12 percent to $399 million. Sales for its Rockport subsidiary were $105 million in the third quarter of 2002, down from last year's third quarter sales of $108 million. "We are very encouraged by the performance of our Reebok Brand during the back to school period with athletic specialty retailers. In the United States, we believe that the sell through of our various Rbk products during the third quarter was significantly above industry averages resulting in improved profitability to our retail partners," said Paul Fireman, chairman and CEO of Reebok International. In addition, Reebok reported its gross margin for the third quarter of 2002 was 37.5 percent, an improvement of 80 basis points when compared with the gross margin of 36.7 percent in the third quarter of 2001. That was due primarily, Fireman said, to reduced returns and a lower rate of cancellations.