Fitness financials: Forzani gets OK to buy common stock, plus Reebok, Finish Line, Wal-Mart

Forzani gets OK to buy common stock, Reebok Q2 profit jumps 68 percent, Finish Line declares cash dividend, Wal-Mart sticks by July forecast

Forzani gets OK to buy common stock
The Forzani Group Ltd. (TSX: FGL), Canada’s largest retailer of sporting goods, said the Toronto Stock Exchange has accepted its application to purchase its Class A common shares. All purchases will be made through the facilities of the TSX.

As of June 30, there were 32,888,223 common shares issued and outstanding. During the past 12 months, Forzani has purchased 135,100 common shares at an average price of $11.18. Forzani said the number of common shares which may be purchased from July 26, 2005, to July 25, 2006, will not exceed 1,000,000 Common Shares — approximately 3.04 percent.

Forzani said the purchasing plan has been put in place because it believes that the common shares are undervalued in the market and are a good investment for it at current and recent prices. All common shares purchased will be returned to treasury for cancellation.

The Forzani Group includes Sport Chek, Coast Mountain Sports, Sport Mart and National Sports, plus the group has discussed with SNEWS® its plans, now slightly delayed, to open fitness specialty stores that combine personal training sometime this year (see SNEWS® story, Oct. 11, 2004, “Forzani Group to take on specialty fitness in Canada with a twist”).

Reebok Q2 profit jumps 68 percent
Reebok International (NYSE: RBK) said second-quarter profit jumped 68 percent, helped by strong international sales and demand for high-priced sneakers like the Pump 2.0.

Net income rose to $37.1 million, or $0.60 per share, from $21.8 million, or $0.35 per share, a year before. Sales rose 8 percent to $876.2 million from $813.6 million a year ago. Hockey Co., which Reebok acquired last June, added $48 million in sales. Analysts, on average, had expected the company to post a per-share profit of 58 cents.

In the United States, sales for the Reebok brand rose 6 percent — with footwear sales up 1 percent at $281 million. Reebok also received a boost from a trend toward high-priced athletic shoes, which offset a slight decline in demand for the company’s classic footwear styles in the United States.

International sales of Reebok-branded products jumped 12 percent to $350 million. Stripping out the benefit of a weak U.S. dollar, international sales were up 8 percent.

Finish Line declares cash dividend

The board of directors of Finish Line (Nasdaq: FINL) declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.025 per share of Class A and Class B common stock. The quarterly cash dividend will be payable on Sept. 15, 2005, to stockholders of record on Sept. 1, 2005. At the company’s annual meeting, the shareholders elected two Class I directors — Alan H. Cohen and Jeffrey H. Smulyan — to serve on the board of directors until the 2008 annual meeting. The shareholders also approved and ratified an amendment to the company’s Stock Incentive Plan to increase the number of shares from 2,500,000 to 6,500,000 and approved and ratified the plan. The shareholders also approved the selection of Ernst & Young LLP as the company’s independent auditor for the fiscal year ending Feb. 25, 2006.

Wal-Mart sticks by July forecast

Wal-Mart Stores (NYSE:WMT) said it is maintaining its forecast for 3 percent to 5 percent July sales growth at its U.S. stores open at least a year. Wal-Mart said the U.S. West was its strongest sales region last week. It will release its July sales report on Aug. 4.

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