Finish Line's Stock Plunges After Profit Falls Well Short Of Expectations

By Tomi Kilgore Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Shares of Finish Line Inc. plunged 15% toward a 6 1/2-year low in premarket trade Friday, after the athletic shoe and apparel retailer reported a fiscal fourth-quarter profit that fell well short of expectations amid heavy discounting to clear inventory. For the quarter to Feb. 25, the company swung to a loss of $9.5 million, or 23 cents a share, from a profit of $4.0 million, or 9 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Excluding non-recurring item, such as store impairment charge, adjusted earnings per share came to 50 cents, below the FactSet consensus of 70 cents. Revenue slipped to $557.5 million from $559.8 million, but was above the FactSet consensus of $548.1 million. Same-store sales declined 4.5%, compared with the FactSet consensus for a 4.2% drop. "As elements of our footwear offering did not resonate with our customers as we expected and the overall retail environment in February became increasingly difficult, we made the decision to get more aggressive on pricing to be competitive and clear slow moving product," said Chief Executive Sam Sato. The stock has tumbled 15% year to date through Thursday, while the SPDR S&P Retail ETF has lost 6.5% and the S&P 500 has gained 4.8%.

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