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Fitness financials: Brunswick shares hit 17-year low on news of layoffs and closed plants, plus Dick's Sporting Goods, Gaiam, Finish Line

Brunswick shares hit a 17-year low on news of layoffs,Nike reported a 12 percent jump in Q4 net income, Dick's Sporting Goods shares hit a 52-week low, Gaiam bought back 5 percent of its common stock, and Finish Line swung to a Q1 profit.

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Brunswick shares hit 17-year low on news of layoffs, closed plants

Brunswick Corp. (NYSE: BC) said it will cut at least 1,000 more jobs and close four plants as it tries to ride out an economic downturn that’s stalled sales for its recreational products — touching off a 17-year low on its stock price.

It notified employees that it will reduce its hourly and salaried work force by 1,000 jobs, and the company said it might slash up to an additional 1,700 employees as further cost-cutting initiatives are completed.

The company said it hopes the moves will reduce costs by $300 million this year.

Brunswick, which manufactures boats, marine engines, fitness equipment and bowling and billiards products, had about 27,000 employees at the end of last year. It is the parent company of Life Fitness, Parabody and Hammer Strength.

Brunswick said it was worried the economic slowdown could soon spread overseas, where robust sales have helped boost earnings.

The company already had laid off about 1,500 marine employees and announced plans to close eight boat plants. By the time the most recent rounds of layoffs and closures are completed, Brunswick’s marine division will have been cut by about 25 percent since January.

The company said the cuts will result in pretax restructuring charges between $200 million and $220 million, including $75 million of previously announced restructuring charges related to actions taken earlier this year. About 85 percent of these charges will be recorded in 2008.

Wachovia Capital Markets analyst Tim Condor told investors in a client note that he thinks the boat industry will continue to sag. “We continue to believe it will be at least this time next year before initial evidence could emerge that the U.S. retail marine (market) is stabilizing,” he wrote in a research note.

On the news, Brunswick’s stock shed $0.31 to close at $11.25 on June 27 after falling as low as $11.01 — a price not seen since 1991 — earlier in the session. Brunswick shares have declined by nearly two-thirds from a 52-week high of $33.62 last July.

Nike reports 12 percent jump in Q4 net income

Nike (NYSE: NKE) said strong growth overseas, particularly in Asia, helped boost its fourth-quarter profit by 12 percent.

Its net income rose to $490.5 million, up from nearly $438 million in the same quarter last year. Earnings per share rose 14 percent to $0.98 per share, up from $0.86 per share.

Nike’s revenue for the quarter ending May 31 grew 16 percent to $5.1 billion, up from $4.4 billion from the same quarter last year. Changes in currency exchange rates increased revenue 7 percentage points for the quarter.

But U.S. revenues grew just 4 percent. And, the company acknowledged the larger macroeconomic challenges. Nike said the United States has performed well given economic uncertainty and that they will continue to address the slipping U.S. apparel and equipment segments.

Also, Nike posted soaring gains overseas from developing markets and benefits from the weak dollar. In the Asia Pacific region, Nike’s second largest market, revenue jumped 39 percent to $828 million. Changes in currency exchange rates increased revenue by 13 percentage points there. In Europe revenue grew 19 percent and 30 percent in the Americas region for the quarter.

Futures orders, which would be delivered June through November, were up 11 percent higher for the quarter across all markets, but flat in the United States.

The company added that its net income for the fiscal year 2008 jumped 26 percent to $1.9 billion, up from $1.5 billion last year. Earnings per share for the year grew 28 percent to $3.74, up from $2.93 for 2007.

Nike’s stock dropped after it acknowledged a difficult consumer environment in the United States. On June 26, shares shed $8.34 for a day’s low of $57.63 and closed at $59.50. The stock has traded between $51.50 and $70.60 during the past 52 weeks.

Dick’s Sporting Goods shares hit 52-week low

Shares of Dick’s Sporting Goods (NYSE: DKS) hit a new 52-week low amid a difficult retail environment.

Shares fell $0.32 to close at $18.05, after earlier trading to a new low of $17.84. The stock had traded between $18.33 and $36.77 during the past 52 weeks. Since the beginning of the month, the stock has dropped 21 percent.

In May, Dick’s Sporting Goods reported fiscal first-quarter earnings fell 4 percent, hurt by declining sales at established stores, particularly its Golf Galaxy stores. Revenue rose 11 percent but fell short of analyst expectations.

Gaiam buys back 5 percent common stock

Gaiam (Nasdaq: GAIA) has repurchased approximately 1.23 million shares of its common stock in open market transactions at an average price per share of $14.79. The shares repurchased by Gaiam represent approximately 5 percent of the company’s outstanding shares and are part of a 5 million share stock repurchase authorization previously announced. The 5 million share repurchase authorization is in addition to its repurchase of 2.5 million shares for $13.14 per share in a privately negotiated transaction in 2007.

Finish Line swings to Q1 profit

Finish Line (Nasdaq: FINL) swung to a fiscal first-quarter profit as it tightened control on inventory and sold higher-priced shoes.

Profit for the quarter ended May 31 totaled $868,000, or $0.02 per share, compared with a loss of $3.9 million, or $0.08 per share, a year ago.

Revenue rose less than 1 percent to $287.9 million from $285.8 million last year. Same-sales stores rose 1.2 percent. Shares outstanding rose 14 percent to 53.9 million.

The company said inventory fell 8 percent compared with last year. The company said business improved during April and May as inventory levels fell. A focus on higher-priced brands and sport-style products led to better product margins and a higher average selling price during the quarter, it added.

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