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Finish Line shares tumble on weak sales, steep loss

December 21, 2016

The Finish Line Inc. reported tepid sales in its last quarter and projected that results for the quarter that includes Christmas will be even weaker—news that sent the company’s shares down nearly 14 percent in premarket trading Wednesday.

The Indianapolis-based athletic retailer and apparel chain said same-store sales for its Finish Line stores rose 0.7 percent in the quarter ending Nov. 26. It projected same-store sales for those stores would decline 3 percent to 5 percent in the current quarter, which ends Feb. 25.

In a press release, the company blamed 2 percent to 3 percent of that decline on the Internal Revenue Service’s recent announcement that it will delay tax refunds by several weeks for many taxpayers, in part to better combat fraud. Finish Line said the move will push refunds out of its fiscal fourth quarter and into the following quarter.

The one bright spot for Finish Line in the quarter ending Nov. 26 was that sales of Finish Line shops located inside Macy’s department stores rose 33.2 percent. However, the company overall reported a steep loss, $40.4 million, on sales of $371.7 million—markedly worse than analysts were expecting.

In the same period a year earlier, Finish Line lost $21.8 million on sales of $361.0 million.

“Despite our recent underperformance, we remain confident in the strategic course we have set for the Finish Line.” CEO Sam Sato said in a statement.

As of 745 a.m., Finish Line shares were trading at $19.85, down $3.16, or 13.7 percent, on the day.

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