January 8, 2013, 3:23 PM

Finish Line loses $3 million in sales with its new web site

The CEO says performance issues caused the retailer to fall back on its old site.

Lead Photo

Finish Line reverted to its former web site platform because of performance issues in December.

Switching to new e-commerce site technology Nov. 19 backfired for Finish Line Inc. and cost the multichannel retailer of shoes and apparel $3 million in sales in the third quarter, Glenn S. Lyon, chairman and CEO, said during an earnings conference call Friday.

Just 17 days later the retailer reverted to its former platform, which it had kept operable. The $3 million in lost revenue came despite a 25% increase in online sales for the quarter, Lyon said.

Lyon did not disclose which vendor provided the new platform, but on Nov. 19 Finish Line issued a press release announcing the relaunch of its site using services from e-commerce platform provider Demandware Inc. and digital marketing agency Big Spaceship. Demandware declined to comment. Neither Finish Line nor Big Spaceship responded to Internet Retailer inquiries.

“Following the launch it became apparent the customer experience was negatively impacted, evidenced by a decline in several key performance factors,” Lyon said. “We made a strategic decision on Dec. 6 to transition back to our previous site given the importance of the selling season.” Lyon did not elaborate on the performance issues.

The former platform was kept operational as a contingency, Lyon said. “This has generated improved results versus what we experienced during the three-week period the new site was live. Our specific plans for the future of our web site will be determined in the coming months.”

For the third quarter ended Dec. 1, Finish Line, No. 151 in the Top 500 guide, reported:

  • Online sales increased 25% over the same period the year prior. The company did not disclose exact dollars.
  • Total sales increased by 5.2% year over year to $296.6 million from $282.0 million.
  • Comparable-store sales increased 3.6%.
  • A loss of $809,000, compared with a profit of $5.5 million the third quarter of 2011.

For the first nine months of fiscal 2012, Finish Line reported:

  • Online sales increased by 27.5% compared with the first nine months of 2011. The company did not disclose exact dollars.
  • Total sales grew by 9.5% to $1.00 billion from $913 million.
  • Comparable-store sales increased 8.3%.
  • Net income of $57.7 million, a 15.4% decrease from $68.2 million a year ago.
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