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We are very optimistic about outlook for spring – SCVL CEO

19
Mar '10
Shoe Carnival, Inc a leading retailer of value-priced footwear and accessories reported sales and earnings for the 13-week fourth quarter and 52-week fiscal year ended January 30, 2010.

Fourth Quarter Results
Net sales for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009 increased 8.8 percent to $170.8 million compared to net sales of $156.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2008. Comparable store sales increased 8.8 percent.

Net earnings for the thirteen-week fourth quarter were $2.6 million, or $0.20 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $3.0 million, or a loss of $0.24 per diluted share in the fourth quarter last year.

The gross profit margin for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009 increased to 28.7 percent compared to 24.7 percent for the fourth quarter of 2008. The merchandise margin increased 2.8 percent primarily as a result of improved inventory management resulting in less promotional selling along with strong sales of boots and athletic footwear. Buying, distribution and occupancy expenses, as a percentage of sales, decreased 1.2 percent through a combination of higher sales and lower expenses for the quarter.

Selling, general and administrative expenses for the fourth quarter increased $940,000 to $44.5 million. As a percentage of sales, these expenses decreased to 26.1 percent from 27.8 percent in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008 due to the leveraging effect of higher sales.

Fiscal 2009 Results
Net sales increased 5.4 percent to $682.4 million for fiscal 2009, compared to net sales of $647.6 million last year. Comparable store sales increased 3.5 percent for the 52-week period.

Net earnings for fiscal 2009 were $15.2 million, or $1.20 per diluted share, compared to net earnings of $5.3 million, or $0.43 per diluted share, for fiscal 2008.

Speaking on the results, Mark Lemond, chief executive officer and president said, "We are extremely pleased to report, that despite the economic challenges in fiscal 2009, we achieved better than expected results for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009. Our 8.8 percent comparable store sales increase was significantly above our expectations with each broad product category of footwear and most of our operations regions delivering a comparable store sales increase for the fourth quarter as compared to the prior year."

Mr. Lemond continued, "The momentum we realized in the second half of fiscal 2009 has continued into the beginning of the first quarter of fiscal 2010 and we are very optimistic about our outlook for the spring selling season. Our management team remains intently focused on our strategy to raise the net realized price of our footwear, maintain lean and fresh inventories, and increase our free cash flow generation."

First Quarter Fiscal 2010 EPS Outlook
Earnings per diluted share in the first quarter of fiscal 2010 are expected to be in the range of $0.54 to $0.58. This increase assumes net sales in the range of $181 to $183 million and a comparable store sales increase of 8 to 9 percent.


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