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Decrease in merchandise margin at Shoe Carnival
May '08
Shoe Carnival Inc a leading retailer of value-priced footwear and accessories, announced sales and earnings for the first quarter ended May 3, 2008.

Net earnings for the thirteen-week first quarter were $4.8 million, or $0.38 per diluted share, compared to net earnings of $7.3 million, or $0.53 per diluted share, for the thirteen-week prior year first quarter ended May 5, 2007.

Sales for the first quarter were $162.1 million compared to sales of $165.7 million for the prior year first quarter. Comparable store sales for the thirteen-week period ended May 3, 2008 decreased 4.9 percent compared with the thirteen-week period ended May 5, 2007.

The gross profit margin for the first quarter was 29.0 percent compared to 30.0 percent for the first quarter of the prior year.

As a percentage of sales, the merchandise margin decreased 0.8 percent and buying, distribution and occupancy costs increased 0.2 percent.

The decrease in merchandise margin as a percentage of sales was primarily related to the pressure on margins resulting from the current competitive retail environment.

Selling, general and administrative expenses for the first quarter were $39.3 million, or 24.2 percent of sales, compared to $39.3 million, or 23.7 percent of sales, for the first quarter of 2007.

The increase in selling, general and administrative expenses as a percentage of sales was attributable to the decrease in net sales.

Speaking on the results for the quarter, Mark Lemond, chief executive officer and president said, "We anticipated a challenging economic environment going into 2008 and worked diligently to face this challenge through tight inventory and expense control.

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