“The third quarter was clearly more challenging than we anticipated,” said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Glenn Lyon. “Sales came in below plan due primarily to a shift within athletic footwear trends and a less than favorable consumer response to the new ecommerce site we launched in mid November. Our top-line performance forced us to get more promotional to improve the composition of our inventory ahead of the important Holiday season. At the same time, we did not adjust our cost structure quickly enough in response to slowing sales trends.”
“Following our recent challenges,” Lyon continued, “we have taken immediate actions to improve near-term results. This includes reverting back to our previous ecommerce site, implementing cost controls that allow us to better manage expenses, and elevating the assortment of key basketball products in our stores and online. Looking ahead, we remain committed to developing a premier omni-channel business. We’ll also continue to evaluate the speed of our transformation to ensure that we are best positioned to achieve both our near- and long-term goals.”
As of December 1, 2012, consolidated merchandise inventories increased 7.6% to $301.7 million compared to $280.4 million as of November 26, 2011. For Finish Line, merchandise inventories increased by 6.3%.
As of December 1, 2012, the company had no interest-bearing debt and $168.2 million in cash and cash equivalents, compared to $216.6 million a year ago.
Share Repurchase Program
The company repurchased 1.0 million shares of its outstanding common stock in the third quarter, totaling $21.2 million. Year-to-date, Finish Line repurchased 2.5 million shares totaling $53.6 million. As of December 1, 2012, the company had 1.3 million shares remaining on its current 5 million share authorization. On January 3, 2013, the company’s Board of Directors amended the current repurchase program to increase the authorization by 5 million shares. This amendment also extends the authorization to repurchase shares through December 31, 2017.
For the fourth quarter ending March 2, 2013, the company expects earnings per share to be between $0.74 and $0.78, compared to $0.74 in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, which excludes the $0.07 impact from the 53rd week. This guidance assumes fourth quarter comparable store sales increase in the low single digit range.
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