Finish Line

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Finish Line
In 1976 two friends named David Klapper and Alan Cohen paired together to run a franchise that would come to be known as the Athlete’s Foot. Athlete’s Foot was a large athletic footwear business. By 1981 Klapper and Cohen’s vision grew larger than what the Athlete’s Foot franchise was able to contain. In this year Klapper and Cohen decided to open their own franchise as a spin off of the Athlete’s Foot; they named it Finish Line.

Cohen and Klapper were phenomenal businessmen, but they needed help getting started. In 1981 they added two more partners named Larry Sablosky and Dave Fagin. This year, 1981, was the grand opening year of Finish Line. When Finish Line had first opened Klapper and Cohen still owned ten Athlete's Foot stores. In 1986 Klapper and Cohen’s Athlete’s Foot franchises were due to expire. After the expiration Klapper and Cohen then converted all of the Athlete's Foot stores that they had previously owned into Finish Line stores in 1986 when their franchises expired.

Finish Line has had a lot of success in its lifetime. Leaders of the company say that this can be attributed to many things, such as: superior executive leadership, structured growth, great knowledge of the athletic industry, and great following of a well thought out mission. Their mission statement is clear and concise about what they will provide and attain to do and be. This mission states, "Finish Line will provide the best selection of sport inspired footwear, apparel and accessories to fit the fast culture of action addicted individuals." Finish Line executes this plan with now more than 11,500 employees, the main headquarters being located in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Finish Line’s products have expanded significantly since its beginning. They are known for their wall of shoes which could have between 600 and 1,300 different kinds of athletic footwear. These include running, basketball, aerobics, gym, walking, hiking, cross-training, cleats, skate shoes, sandals, and casual shoes. Brands that are sold by Finish Line include, but are not limited to: New Balance, Adidas, Nike, Jordan, Converse, Puma, Lacoste, Saucony, Under Armour, Pastry, Brooks, Asics, Skechers, Oakley, The North Face, Timberland, K-Swiss, and Baby Phat.

From 1986 on, Finish Line obtained a series of company milestones year after year that expanded the franchise to what it has become today. In October of 1991 Finish Line opened their 100th store; most were in the mid-west region of the United States. In 1992 Finish Line became a publicly traded company; it trades on the NASDAQ with the ticker symbol FINL. In November of 1997 they opened their 300th store. In July of 1999 they recorded their first ever online sales. In the year 2002 Finish Line became the second largest athletic retailer based solely on sales revenues. They had also expanded the company to a whopping 600 Finish Line stores at this point. In 2005 Finish Line acquired the urban clothing retailer Man Alive, obtaining 37 stores in the Midwest. They then opened more than 60 stores in the next year alone. In 2006 Finish Line opened a division called Paiva which targeted upscale, active women; they opened 15 stores around the United States. Then in 2007 Finish Line outbid rival Foot Lockers for Genesco; Genesco operates Lids, Hat World, Johnston and Murphy, and Journeys.

It is difficult to compare trends and analyze the financial statements of Finish Line compared to competitors because most other athletic retailers sell sporting goods in addition to clothing and footwear, where Finish Line does not sell sporting goods. However, there is one other company that is worthy of comparison; that company if Footlocker. Footlocker dominates over 30% of the athletic shoe retailing industry's market share, compared to Finish Line’s 7.3% market share. Finish Line’s market share in athletic shoe retailing may seem minute compared to that of Footlocker’s, but it is actually...
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