Leading US specialty retailer of brand name athletic and lifestyle footwear, active wear and accessories, The Finish Line, has posted a 43 per cent increase in second quarter sales.

Net income for the 13 weeks ended September 1 jumped 43 per cent to $10.1 million from $7.1m in 2000, while net sales increased three per cent to $196.8m, compared to $190.5m reported for the same period last year.

Comparable store net sales decreased 2 per cent for the second quarter, said Alan H Cohen, president and chief executive officer of the 450-store company.

He added: " The repositioning plan, including the liquidation of aged inventory and store closures is proceeding on schedule. We have closed 10 of the targeted 17 stores to date and expect the 7 remaining stores to be closed by fiscal year end.

"We have aggressively liquidated aged product and have substantially completed this process as of the end of our 2nd quarter. The second quarter results reflect the improvement of product margins by 240 basis points demonstrating the effect and importance of the reduction of aged inventory.

"Our balance sheet remains strong with over $85m in cash and marketable securities and no interest bearing debt. Our stockholders' equity is $237.8m, which equates to $9.62 per diluted share and we are well positioned financially to remain flexible and strong."