The Finish Line, Inc. reported consolidated net sales from continuing operations of $382.8 million for the fourth quarter ended March 1, 2008, down 10.1% from $425.7 million for the year-ago quarter, which included an extra week’s sales.

Consolidated comparable store net sales declined 6.0% for the quarter after decreasing 5.4% last year. By concept, Finish Line comparable store net sales declined 5.4% and Man Alive comparable store net sales decreased 14.2%. Direct-to-consumer sales through and the company’s catalog posted double-digit growth for the quarter and the full year.

For the quarter, FINL experienced a low-single-digit increase in women's footwear sales, a low-single-digit decline in the men's category, and a high-single-digit decrease in kids. The footwear average selling price increased 1.9% for the quarter.

In the running category, men's comp sales increased in low-single-digits and women's improved in the mid-single-digits. Running ASPs increased low-single-digits led by continued sales of higher priced premium footwear such as Shox+ enabled Nike products and Asics. The company said its continued investment in the technical running segment produced significant sales growth. Basketball sales were up low-single-digits, led by Brand Jordan and other premium footwear with an increase in both margin and average selling price.

FINL attributed the weak results in the softgoods business to a difficult year-ago comp in footwear as well as to a soft NFL license business, “especially around the participating teams in the Super Bowl.”

Despite the decreased softgoods sales, however, the company said that gross margin dollars were flat for the quarter compared to the year-ago period as it focused on improving inventory aging productivity levels for the segment.

For the quarter, Man Alive stores posted a 14.2% comp store sales decrease in a continued challenging environment, but the company hopes that changing its inventory mix to more crossover street fashion styles and less hip-hop fashion will help to alleviate those issues.

For the year, consolidated net sales from continuing operations decreased 3.8% to $1.28 billion from $1.33 billion last year.  Comparable store net sales decreased 4.7% after decreasing 5.7% a year ago.  By concept, Finish Line comparable store net sales declined 4.5% and Man Alive comparable store net sales decreased 8.8%.

During Q4, the company did not open any Finish Line stores, while remodeling four stores and closing four stores. The company operated 697 Finish Line stores at year end, up 1.0% from 690 at the same point last year.