(By Balachander) Finish Line Inc. (NASDAQ:FINL) posted a jump in quarterly earnings, topping market expectations, as market share gains in running and basketball drove double-digit sales growth. The retailer of athletic apparel also raised its forecast for the full year.
Earnings per share (EPS) jumped 26 percent to 49 cents for the second quarter and topped Wall Street projections of 44 cents. Net earnings increased 19 percent to $24.97 million.
Net sales rose 16 percent to $385.0 million, breezing past market consensus of $358.2 million. Comparable store sales advanced 12.3 percent as Digital comparable sales surged nearly 30 percent.
Gross margin was 35.0 percent versus 35.1 percent in the same period last year.
Looking ahead for the year ending March 2, 2013, the company now expects EPS growth between 6 percent and 9 percent from the range of 6 percent to 7 percent projected earlier. Comparable store sales is expected to rise 6 percent to 8 percent versus prior view of growth of 5 percent to 6 percent. Analysts expect EPS of $1.66 on sales of $1.44 billion.
The Indianapolis, Indiana-based company offers athletic casual footwear, apparel, and accessories for men, women, and kids. The company also sells merchandise through its Web-site, finishline.com.
For the first quarter, Finish Line earned 24 cents on sales of $319 million and gross margin of 32.8 percent.
The stock, which has been trading between $17.87 and $26.16 over the past 52 weeks, ended Thursday's regular trading at $22.75.