Fitness financials: Everlast on way to $1 billion annual sales, plus Wal-mart, Sears, Foot Locker, Finish Line

Fitness financials: Everlast on way to $1 billion annual sales. Sales update for Wal-Mart, Sears and Finish Line. Foot Locker converts notes.

>> On June 4, George Q Horowitz, chairman and CEO of Everlast Worldwide Inc. (Nasdaq: EVST ), told attendees at the company’s annual meeting the company is getting closer to its goal of $1 billion in retail sales. “We are on our way to achieving our goal of $1 billion in retail sales in three years from our current base of $600 million,” Horowitz said. “Last year we took a number of steps to financially strengthen our company and enhance our long-term profitability. We also gained efficiencies and reduced costs by rationalizing our manufacturing processes. We have the financial resources and management resolve to continue the global expansion of the Everlast brand through the introduction of new products, the addition of new international markets and the continuation of our successful licensing program.” At the meeting, shareholders elected nine members to the board of directors, who will serve until the next annual meeting. Shareholders also ratified the selection of Berenson LLP as Everlast’s independent auditors.

>> Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE: WMT) reported net sales for the four-week period ending May 28 of $21.425 billion, an increase of 12.8 percent over the $18.987 billion in the same four-week period in 2003. The Wal-Mart division’s sales for the four-week period were $14.388 billion, up 11.7 percent over sales of $12.886 billion in 2003. The division’s sales for the 17 weeks of $58.718 billion were up 11.9 percent compared to last year’s $52.479 billion. The division’s same-store sales for the four-week period were 4.7 percent compared to 2003’s 2.1 percent.

>> Sears, Roebuck and Co. (NYSE:S) expects sales at stores open at least a year to be flat to down slightly in the second quarter, after posting a 3.7 percent drop in May. The company, which had expected sales for the three months ending with June to be flat or rise slightly, had previously reported a 1.8 percent drop in April.

>> Foot Locker (NYSE:FL) reported on June 4 that $150 million outstanding subordinated notes have been converted to about 9.5 million new common stock. The retailer said 9.5 million new common shares have been issued, but the move will not affect its diluted earnings per share as they have already been included. Foot Locker said annual interest expense will decrease by $8 million after the conversion.

>> Finish Line (NasdaqNM: FINL) store sales rose 14 percent in its first quarter, due to strong sales of premium shoes from Nike and higher average prices for footwear. The retailer said it now expects profit of 41 cents to 43 cents a share for the first quarter ended May 31, including special costs, up from its previous forecast of 37 cents to 39 cents a share. Its projected earnings were weighed down by costs between 2 cents and 3 cents a share due to its unsuccessful acquisition of Footaction stores, it said. Total sales rose 24 percent to $258 million for the first quarter. For the full year, Finish Line forecast earnings of $2.39 to $2.43 a share, up from its previous view of $2.29 to $2.33 a share. Finish Line also said it expects to open 70 news stores for the fiscal year.

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