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Finish Line posts 3Q profit boosted by tax gain

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The Finish Line Inc., a seller of athletic shoes and clothes, rose to a profit in the third quarter from a year-ago loss, helped by a big one-time tax gain.

Finish Line also controlled its expenses, managed inventory better and improved store operations as it navigated a cautious consumer spending environment, CEO Glenn Lyon said in a statement.

In the quarter that ended Nov. 28, Finish Line had a profit of $6.6 million, or 12 cents per share, compared with a loss of $8.8 million, or 16 cents per share, a year earlier. Its big one-time tax gain of $6.5 million was related to the termination of its plans to buy Genesco Inc., a shoe and hat retailer with brands such as Journeys, Hat World, Lids and others. Finish Line had proposed the $1.5 billion deal in June 2007 but it later fell apart.

Excluding items, the company broke even, beating analysts’ average estimate for a loss of 9 cents per share. Revenue slipped 0.2 percent to $240.1 million from $240.6 million, also topping the $234 million expected by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

Sales at stores open at least a year rose 1.7 percent during the quarter, Finish Line said. Sales at stores open at least a year is a key measure of retailer performance because it is not skewed by new store openings and closings.

Shares of Finish Line, based in Indianapolis, rose 75 cents, or 7.5 percent, to $10.75 in after-hours trading Tuesday after the quarterly results were released. The stock closed the regular session up 17 cents at $10.

© 2009 Associated Press. Displayed by permission. All rights reserved.

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