Expenses related to its aborted merger with Genesco helped retailer The Finish Line slide into the red with a full-year loss of US$48.1m.

The US company's sales for the fourth quarter ended 1 March were down 10% to $382.8m, while comparable store sales dipped 6%.

But it was more than $80m in expenses related to Genesco litigation that sent The Finish Line to a $38.6m loss, compared to a profit of $25.8m for the same period last year.

Full-year sales at the sportswear specialist were down 4.1% to $1.28bn, and comparable store sales also fell, by 4.7%.

The net loss of $48.1m compared to a profit of $40.3m in the last fiscal year.

"Our fourth quarter sales reflected the challenging environment for retail in general," said Alan Cohen, The Finish Line chairman and CEO.

"In The Finish Line stores we did not meet our sales expectations, but did drive higher product margins and ended the year with inventory down 4% on a per square foot basis."

The Finish Line and Genesco announced that the companies' possible merger was definitively off earlier this month, with the settling of all related litigation.