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Finish Line suffers surprising quarterly loss

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The Finish Line Inc. said Friday that it lost money in its latest quarter, the first unprofitable quarter for the Indianapolis-based retailer since the second period of 2009.

The company said it lost $107,000, less than a penny a share, in the fiscal third quarter ended Dec. 1. A year earlier, the company reported profit of $5.5 million, or 11 cents per share. Revenue rose 5.2 percent, to $296.6 million, over the year-ago period.

The earnings fell short of predictions by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, which recently forecast per-share earnings of 10 cents on revenue of $296 million.

Finish Line stock fell 6 percent in by midday Friday, to $17.85 per share.

CEO Glenn Lyon blamed the weak quarter on the public’s poor response to a new online store the company launched in mid-November prior to Black Friday. It reverted to its old e-commerce site in early December after experiencing too many problems with the new site.

Lyons also said the company misjudged footwear trends and would increase its selection of basketball products.  

Same-store sales, which exclude sales at stores open less than a year, were up 3.6 percent in the quarter.

Finish Line hadn’t suffered a quarterly loss since the second fiscal quarter of 2009, when an $18.4 charge for selling off its Man Alive stores hurt an otherwise profitable quarter.

The company lowered its full-year earnings estimate to $1.47 to $1.51 a share from its September forecast of roughly $1.62 to $1.67 a share.
 

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