Anticipation builds interest in Finish Line-WEB ONLY

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Market watchers are keeping an eye on Indianapolis-based athletics retailer Finish Line Inc. in advance of its scheduled release of third-quarter financial results late this afternoon.

Analysts expect the company to post a loss of 11 cents a share; it reported a profit of $13.1 million – or 24 cents per share – in the second quarter ended Aug. 30.

Finish Line shares were trading at $5.27 late this morning, down from $5.93 yesterday.

The company had an active 2008, struggling early on as it worked to get out of its proposed $1.5 billion acquisition of Tennessee-based mall retailer Genesco Inc. Finish Line eventually paid Genesco $81.5 million to abandon the deal.

In July, Finish Line announced it would expand its warehouse and headquarters on the far-east side of Indianapolis, adding 180 workers to the existing roster of 670.

Then in October, co-founder Alan H. Cohen said he would retire as CEO after 32 years with the company. President Glenn S. Lyon took over the post Dec. 1, and Chief Operating Officer Steven J. Schneider replaced him as president.

Last week, Finish Line disclosed the terms of Lyon and Schneider’s new employment contracts, including compensation.

Lyon‘s base salary will increase to $620,000, up from $468,000. Schneider’s base pay will be $500,000, up from $406,000. Both are eligible for annual and long-term bonuses.

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