Can Genesco (NYSE:GCO) make it to the Finish Line? Shareholders aren't so sure, and they've decided to sell shares first and ask questions later. The footwear specialist's stock ended Thursday's trading down more than 10%.

Yes, quarterly results were disappointing, but the driving force behind the shareholder exodus was a statement from Finish Line (NASDAQ:FINL) that it may back out of its deal to acquire Genesco for $54.50 a share. The deal was expected to be completed in the next couple of months, but it seems that Finish Line is now "evaluating its options."

Who needs partners like this? Fretting over a missed quarter in a difficult retail environment -- if, indeed, that's the problem here -- strikes me as hasty. Actually, the company broke even this quarter, excluding merger costs and discontinued operations. That's still quite a drop from the $0.24 per share it earned a year earlier, but things still could have been worse.

Genesco has been a consistent performer. A later start to the back-to-school season and the sales-tax holidays in Texas and Florida hurt results, particularly at its Journeys Group division. However, after a rough start, the company has performed very well over the past couple of weeks -- not so much in the Hat World and Underground Station units, but certainly at Johnston & Murphy, which appeals to a more upscale customer. These businesses are smaller than Journeys, but together they add up to a meaningful amount of the company's sales. Underground Station appeals to the fashion-conscious, so you have to expect that it's going to miss the mark sometimes.

Other footwear retailers, such as Foot Locker (NYSE:FL), struggled, too. So I wonder whether there's something else going on with Finish Line's skittishness. Perhaps the company got a whiff of something it didn't like when doing its due diligence, or maybe it's trying to negotiate a lower price.

Either way, I say the company is better off alone, where it has done just fine, save for the past few quarters. It has a nice stable of brands that appeal to a wide demographic, and it even has a licensing agreement to sell Dockers. Speaking of Foot Locker, this could be a chance for that company to jump back into the fray, after it lost out in the Genesco bidding war to Finish Line back in May.

In the short term, I'd steer clear of these shares. There could be a lot of volatility, especially if Finish Line walks away or tries to negotiate a lower price. However, if the deal falls through, and Genesco remains independent, that could be an opportunity to pick up a quality brand at a discount.

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Fool contributor Larry Rothman is happy to receive feedback, and he promises to read it when he's not being wrestled by his three children. Feel free to email him at rothmanviews@comcast.net. He doesn't have any positions in the companies mentioned.