NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Athletic footwear and apparel retailer Finish Line (FINL) will report first quarter fiscal 2016 earnings results Friday before the opening bell. The stock, which is up more than 8% so far in 2015 -- besting the broader averages -- has been a standout performer in a retail sector cluttered with underachievers.
Owing to weak consumer spending, the group, which includes chains such as Five Below (FIVE) and Wal-Mart (WMT), has been one of the worst performers this earnings season. Beyond a few upbeat results from some prominent names, the sector has also witnessed -- in some cases -- a bloodbath, causing the SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT) to underperform the S&P 500 (SPX) index in the past three months.
Still, it would be a mistake to part with a winner like Finish Line solely on fear it will fall prey to weak consumer spending. The Indiana-based company, which grew same-store sales by some 3% in its fiscal fourth quarter, is finding ways to not only get more customers into its stores, but get them to spend more.
What's more, with plans to close poor-performing stores, Finish Line looks well-positioned to grow long-term profit margins by reducing operating expenses. Additionally, better-than-expected results released from rival Foot Locker (FL) would appear to indicate that sales in the athletic footwear market continue to gain traction.