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Volume 24 No. 116

Finance

          The athletic-footwear industry "is expected to report
     lackluster fourth-quarter results, reflecting a continuing
     swing away from the traditional athletic look to other
     casual styles," according to Joseph Pereira of the WALL
     STREET JOURNAL.  The "fashion shift could mean at least six
     more months, and possibly up to a year, of sluggishness as
     retailers clear out inventories before resuming the
     aggressive buying that marked the year-ago period." 
     Sporting Goods Intelligence estimates that '97 U.S. footwear
     sales "climbed less than" 3% to $7.7B.  Pereira adds that
     one alternative brand "cashing in" on the fashion switch is
     Vans Inc., while adidas AG "is expected to reverse a year-
     earlier loss" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/12).
          NIKE CFO OUT: Nike CFO Robert Falcone resigned last
     week to "pursue other opportunities," according to a REUTERS
     report.  Nike named controller Robert Harold as interim CFO
     and accounting officer, pending the selection of a permanent
     successor to Falcone.  Nike's recent second-quarter earnings
     report "fell well short of Wall Street expectations,"
     leading some analysts "to question whether Falcone had been
     pressured to leave" (REUTERS, 1/10). 
          QUARTER LOSS: FL-based The Sports Authority said it
     expects fourth-quarter earnings to be "about" $0.35 a share,
     compared to $0.50 a share the previous year, due to "slow
     holiday sales and the cost of store closings," according to
     the MIAMI HERALD.  Fourth-quarter sales are expected to be
     about $422M, with comparable store sales about 3.5% lower
     than the same period last year (MIAMI HERALD, 1/10).  TSA
     Chair/CEO Jack Smith said "several key sporting goods
     segments such as fitness, licensed products and footwear
     were especially weak" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/12).

          SportsLine USA announced record revenue and site
     traffic for the fourth quarter ended December 31, '97. 
     Quarterly revenue increased to $4.4M, up 250% from the $1.3M
     in '96's same quarter.  Traffic on SportsLine's Web sites
     grew 250%, averaging 2.8 million page views daily in '97, as
     compared to 800,000 daily in '96.  SportsLine's net loss for
     the quarter was $7.2M, or $0.42 per share, compared to
     $4.2M, or $0.45 per share in the '96 quarter (SportsLine).




          Topps Co. reported a net loss for the third quarter,
     ended November 29, of $8.5M, or $0.18 a share, compared with
     a net loss of $18.5M, or $0.39 per share, a year-earlier.
     For the nine months ended November 29, Topps reported a net
     loss of $9.5M, compared with a net loss of $13.5M for the
     year-earlier period (CRAIN'S N.Y. BUSINESS, 1/5 issue).  In
     N.Y., Bill Madden added Topps "eliminated 30 jobs, including
     its PR operation, headed by former Yankee publicist and TV
     producer Marty Appel" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/11).