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Shoe Carnival reports Q1 results
29
May '09
Shoe Carnival, Inc., a leading retailer of value-priced footwear and accessories, announced sales and earnings for the first quarter ended May 2, 2009.

Sales for the first quarter were $167.3 million compared to sales of $162.1 million for the prior year first quarter. Comparable store sales declined 0.3 percent.

Net earnings for the thirteen-week first quarter were $4.1 million, or $0.33 per diluted share, compared to net earnings of $4.8 million, or $0.38 per diluted share, for the thirteen-week prior year first quarter ended May 3, 2008.

The gross profit margin for the first quarter was 27.9 percent compared to 29.0 percent for the first quarter of the prior year. The merchandise margin decreased 1.3 percent primarily due to the aggressive liquidation of product within our women's non-athletic category. As a percentage of sales, buying, distribution and occupancy costs decreased 0.2 percent.

Selling, general and administrative expenses for the first quarter were $40.1 million, or 24.0 percent of sales, compared to $39.3 million, or 24.2 percent of sales, for the first quarter of 2008.

Speaking on the results, Mark Lemond, chief executive officer and president said, "We are pleased to report first quarter comparable store sales were relatively flat with last year. Sales of our athletic footwear, including both children's and adult, recorded a mid-single digit increase. Our customer continued to react to the value pricing of our adult dress and casual product, especially during the clearance period of February through early March. Consequently, our sales for the quarter were better than expected, but our merchandise margin was below our initial plan. However, during the warmer month of April, our women's non-athletic product, particularly sandals, began to sell well and the merchandise margin stabilized.

"At the end of the first quarter, our per-store inventories were 8.4 percent below last year, which we feel is an appropriate level. Therefore, we do not expect to continue to significantly lower inventory during the remainder of fiscal 2009 relative to the prior year.

"We were able to leverage selling, general and administrative expenses as a percentage of sales and, through aggressive expense control, hold the total dollar increase to $733,000, despite opening 10 new stores and operating 20 more stores than last year at the end of the first quarter."

Mr. Lemond continued, "As we look forward, we recognize that our targeted moderate income customer will continue to be impacted by the economic downturn and sales within the retail sector may continue to experience downward pressure. Therefore, we will continue to manage our business conservatively, maintaining tight control over both our inventories and our cost structure."


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