Finish Line shares jump on solid quarterly results

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Shares of The Finish Line Inc. climbed 8.7 percent in early trading Thursday morning, after the Indianapolis-based athletic shoe and apparel retail reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings.

Finish Line shares, which closed Wednesday’s regular trading session at $11.69, rose $1.01 to $12.70.

In its fiscal third quarter ended Nov. 25, the company reported a loss of $12.9 million, or 32 cents per share, compared with a loss of $40.4 million, or $1 per share, in the same period a year earlier.

The average estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for a loss of 37 cents per share.

Same-store sales increased 0.8 percent, beating expectations of a 4.5 percent decline and performing much better than in the previous quarter, when they tumbled 4.6 percent.

Same-store sales measure revenue from stores open at least a year and are generally considered an important performance metric in the retail industry.

“We finished the third quarter ahead of expectations despite a highly promotional environment for athletic footwear,” CEO Sam Sato said in prepared remarks. “The growth initiatives that we’ve put in place are driving increased traffic to our brand and helping increase conversion. Looking ahead, we continue to be cautious in the near-term, but I am confident that the work we are doing to position the company for long-term growth and enhanced profitability is gaining traction.”

Revenue for he third quarter grew 1.8 percent, to $378.5 million, also topping expectations. Six analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $361.5 million.

For the entire fiscal year, Finish Line increased its guidance to between 59 cents and 67 cents per share, “due to the third quarter outperformance,” from a previous range of 50 cents to 60 cents per share.

Finish Line ended the quarter with 566 stores, down from 580 in the year-ago period.

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