Brown Earnings Tumble

LOS ANGELES  — The decline in consumer spending cut sharply into Brown Shoe Co.’s third-quarter profits, the company reported Tuesday.

Net earnings fell nearly 62 percent to $10.4 million, or 25 cents a diluted share, down from $27 million, or 61 cents, for the year-ago quarter. Sales during the quarter declined 2 percent to $631.7 million, compared with $645.5 million for the third quarter of 2007.

Chairman and CEO Ron Fromm said in a press release that the company would immediately curb its spending to maximize profits and maintain cash flow.

“In total, we have lowered our planned capital expenditures for the 2009-to-2011 period by an aggregate of $72 million,” he said. “We will seek to align our costs to this new sales environment and have instituted more stringent expense management disciplines. In the near-term, our goal is to maximize profit outcomes and cash flows while maintaining the strength of our balance sheet.”

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