Sports shoe retailer Finish Line Inc on Friday revealed a 219 per cent year-on-year surge in first quarter net income to $3.7 million amid a six per cent climb in sales to $170.6m from $160.8m in 2001.

The Indianapolis-based operator of 451 outlets said the increase was driven by a 310 basis point improvement in product margin compared to the year prior when the company was liquidating aged product under its repositioning plan.

President and CEO, Alan Cohen, said: "We are pleased to report a 219 per cent increase in net income for the first quarter of fiscal 2003. Our continued positive trend in both footwear and apparel sales for the quarter show that our merchandising and marketing strategies are being well received by consumers."