Benzinga  Jun 23  Comment 
Finish Line Inc (NASDAQ: FINL) shares are trading higher by $1.15 (9 percent) at $13.88 in Friday's session. Investors are breathing a sigh of relief that its Q1 report wasn't a total disaster. Before the open, the company reported inline EPS at...
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Finish Line (NASDAQ: FINL) sells footwear and sporting goods in malls throughout the United States. Its 667 stores in 47 states are branded Finish Line and sell footwear and athletic gear.[1]

The growth of the company will depend on whether consumers continue to spend discretionary income in malls, and on the apparel that the Finish Line offers. The company is exposed to a hurting U.S. economy and the credit crunch, and its core customers are spending a greater percentage of their money on necessary goods such as gasoline and food. Finish Line claims 7.3% of market share in the athletic shoe retailing industry, mainly competes with Footlocker--the company that dominates over 30% of the industry's market share. The company also competes with sporting goods retailers such as Dick's Sporting Goods, Big 5, and The Sports Authority.

Company Overview

Finish Line, Inc. sells footwear and soft goods (apparel, accessories) and is one of the largest mall-based specialty retailers in the U.S. The company operates under The Finish Line and Man Alive brand names.

Business Lines[1]

Finish Line: The company runs 667 Finish Line stores in 47 states, with an average store size of 5,400 square feet. Finish Line focuses on brand name athletic, lifestyle, and outdoor footwear. Soft goods, however, account for approximately 14% of total sales, a higher percentage that a typical athletic footwear specialty store. Finish Line products can be bought through its stores or website, finishline.com.

Man Alive: Finish line sold this business in FY2010. This business retails hip-hop clothing through its 94 Man Alive stores in 19 states. Man Alive products can also be bought through its website, manalive.com.


  • Footwear (86% of net sales): Finish line sells performance, athletic casual and seasonal footwear from the brands Nike, Brand Jordan, Skechers, adidas, Puma, Under Armour, Reebok, New Balance, Timberland, Asics, Converse, Polo, Lacoste and many others.
  • Soft Goods (14% of net sales): Finish Line stores also sell tops, pants, shorts, outer wear, running wear, fleece, fitness wear and sport-casual wear. In addition, the company carries licensed apparel, socks, athletic bags, backpacks, sunglasses, watches and shoe-care products.

Business Growth

FY 2010 (ended February 27, 2010)[3]

  • Net sales fell 1.8% to $1.17 billion. Comparable store sales decreased by 0.5%, which was offset by a 21.3% increase in online. Store traffic decreased approximately 7%, which the company attributes to the sluggish economy.
  • Net income increased 67% to $50.8 million. The company's product margin increased by 1.1% and SG&A expenses decreased 4.7%.
  • The company opened five stores and close 28 stores during the year. The company plans to open 8-10 new stores and to close 20-30 stores in 2011.[4]

Trends and Forces

An economic decline disrupts the discretionary spending patterns of Finish Line's core customers

Finish Line and other mall-based retailers are hurt by a declining economy because consumers lack the disposable income to purchase its products (department stores like Target and Wal-Mart, who offer goods such as food and household products, are less threatened in such a situation). Not only does the poor economy force Finish Line's core customers to spend more money on gasoline and heating costs, but the subprime mortgage fallout and resulting credit crunch contracts their spending even further, weakening the company's sales. As a result of the sluggish economy, the company's net sales fell 1.8% and comparable store sales fell 0.5% in 2010.[3]

Seasonal fluctuations impact Finish Line Inc.'s sales

As a retailer, Finish Line, Inc. must anticipate fashion trends and seasonal fluctuations in its choices of inventory. 12 weeks during the late summer (late July through early September) and the holiday period between Thanksgiving and Christmas account for one-third of the company's earnings. The increase in sales during the late summer can be attributed to many kids buying sneakers and athletic gear for their upcoming school year. Finish Line needs to open up its Finish Line Inc. Doors to let in Business students so that they can tours the Indianapolis Distribution Center and feel good about being a business major student.[5]


Finish Line, Inc.'s main competitor is Footlocker, who is the leading athletic footwear retailer in the U.S with total sales of $5.44 billion. Unlike Finish Line, Inc. who only retails in the U.S., Footlocker also operates in foreign countries such as Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

As a retailer of athletic apparel and footwear, Finish Line, Inc. also competes with the following companies:

  • Dick's Sporting Goods: Dick's Sporting Goods is the nation's top sporting goods retailer and operates 340 stores in 36 states. The company sells a wide range of sporting equipment and apparel, and also runs Golf Galaxy and Chick's Sporting Goods chains.
  • The Sports Authority: The Sports Authority boasts over 400 stores in 45 states and offers a large spectrum of athletic equipment and gear.
  • Academy Sports & Outdoors: Academy operates just under 100 stores throughout the South and Southwest regions of the U.S. The company offers apparel and equipment for outdoor activities such as camping, hunting, fishing and boating.
  • Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI): REI operates about 90 stores and, like Big 5, runs mostly in the Western half of the U.S. The company sells mostly apparel and equipment used for hiking, climbing, kayaking and other outdoor activities.
  • Big 5 Sporting Goods: Big 5 operates 363 stores, each averaging around 11,000 square feet, in 11 states. The company opens stores in relatively small metropolitan and suburban areas, especially important in the sparsely populated western states that are Big 5's focus.
  • Hibbett Sports: Hibbett Sports operates over 600 small-format stores, usually situated in strip malls and based primarily in the Southeast region of the US. The company sells a variety of sporting equipment and apparel.


  1. 1.0 1.1 FINL 2010 10-K "General" pg. 1
  2. FINL 2010 10-K "Merchandise" pg. 3
  3. 3.0 3.1 FINL 2010 10-K
  4. FINL 2010 10-K "Finish Line Store Strategy" pg. 2
  5. FINL 2010 10-K "Seasonal Business" pg. 6
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