• Tax gain lifts Q3 profit to $6.5m
  • Net sales down 0.2% to $240.1m
  • Inventories fall 19.0% to $237.5m

A one-time tax gain, coupled with tight control of expenses and inventories, have all combined to push athletic clothing and footwear retailer The Finish Line Inc to a third quarter profit.

The $6.5m tax benefit from the termination of its plans to buy shoe and hat retailer Genesco Inc, helped push the firm to a profit of $6.5m or $0.12 per share, from a loss of $6.5m or $0.12 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding this gain, results for the three months to 28 November would have been breakeven, Finish Line said.

Net sales for the quarter fell 0.2% to $240.1m, down from $240.6m a year ago, while same-store sales rose 1.7%.

The company managed to cut merchandise inventories by 19.0% to $237.5m.

"In the third quarter, we effectively controlled expenses, managed inventories and improved store execution," said CEO Glenn Lyon.

"We also continued to work productively with our vendor partners to stress innovation in product, consistent with our ongoing premium positioning."