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).