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Finish Line reports rise in quarterly earnings, sales

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Athletic shoe and clothing retailer The Finish Line Inc. said Thursday that its fourth-quarter profit rose 12 percent, with strong sales at established stores.

Chairman and CEO Glenn Lyon said sales per square foot were "well below our historical highs," indicating room to grow.

The Indianapolis-based company reported net income of $34.3 million, or 63 cents per share, in the fiscal quarter that ended Feb. 26. That compared with $30.6 million, or 55 cents per share, a year earlier.

The Finish Line said that excluding a charge for writing down the value of stores, it would have earned 65 cents per share.

Revenue rose 2.7 percent, to $384.6 million.

Analysts expected the company to earn 65 cents per share on revenue of $376.2 million.

Revenue at stores open at least a year, a key indicator for retailers, rose 4 percent, slowing from a 10-percent jump a year ago. For the first three weeks of the current quarter, Feb. 27 through March 20, the figure rose 10.1 percent, compared with a 15.4-percent increase a year earlier, the company said.

The company said operating margins were 9 percent, near its goal of double-digit margins for the full year.

For the full fiscal year, the company earned $68.8 million on sales of $1.23 billion, compared with $35.7 million on sales of $1.17 billion the previous year.

The Finish Line's shares rose 54 cents, or 3 percent, on Thursday to close at $18.40 each before the company released its results.

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