FINANCE

Finish Line Q4 profit up, but forecasts difficult first quarter

BY Staff Writer

Indianapolis — Finish Line Inc. posted earnings of $41.9 million for the fourth quarter, compared with $34.2 million in the year-ago period. But the chain forecast a plunge in first-quarter earnings due to lower margins.

Sales in the quarter ended March 3, 2012, rose 18.6% to $456.3 million, ahead of analyst estimates of $432.62 million. Same-store sales rose 10.8%.

For the full fiscal year, consolidated net sales increased 11.4% to $1.37 billion. Same-store sales increased 9.2%.

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FINANCE

Gart Capital invests $10 million in Finish Line’s Running Specialty Group

BY Marianne Wilson

Indianapolis — The Finish Line announced that Gart Capital Partners will invest $10 million in Finish Line’s Running Specialty Group, with the goal of creating the largest operator of specialty running shoe business in the United States.

The joint venture, which will be majority owned by Finish Line, builds upon the retailer’s 2011 acquisition of an 18-store chain of specialty running shops operating under The Running Company banner. This acquisition represented a first step in pursuing the significant market opportunity within specialty running, which today is a highly fragmented market with limited e-commerce penetration.

The headquarters of the Running Specialty Group will be relocated to Denver, where Gart will manage all day-to-day operations as well as merchandising and the acquisition of additional running operators from its home base there. Finish Line will continue to leverage its strengths as a leading omni-channel retailer, providing direct logistics, marketing and IT support along with digital expertise.

“We are excited to take our specialty running growth plans to the next level with GCP,” said Finish Line chairman and CEO Glenn Lyon. “Like the ski retail business, customers within specialty running prize a shopping experience that is expert, highly localized and infused with the sport’s unique culture.”

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News

Mac Naughton returns to familiar territory

BY CSA STAFF

Walmart chief merchandising officer Duncan Mac Naughton was back in Canada earlier this week at the CIBC World Markets Retail and Consumer Conference in Toronto sharing a message of improved traction and accelerating momentum.

Toronto is familiar territory for Mac Naughton as he spent one year as chief merchandising officer of Walmart Canada before joining Walmart U.S. as EVP of merchandising in the fall of 2010. While he covered a lot of familiar ground regarding strategy, key initiatives and financial performance, anytime a top Walmart executive participates in an investor conference it’s worth paying attention to what was said. To access a transcript of Mac Naughton’s remarks, click here.

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