Brown Shoe Expects Q4 at Low End of Forecast

NEW YORK — Brown Shoe Co. said late Wednesday that fourth-quarter earnings would be at the low-end of its prior outlook after a promotional holiday season.

For the nine weeks ended Jan. 3, same-store sales at the Famous Footwear divisions declined 1.5 percent, while gross margins fell 270 basis points versus the same period last year. Meanwhile, unit volume increased by 5.3 percent, while inventory was down 3.4 percent on an average store basis versus year-ago levels.

“The trade-off between greater sales and lower margin during the first two months of the quarter was in line with our expectations,” said Chairman and CEO Ron Fromm in a statement. “Importantly, velocity helped clear merchandise during this period and we feel good about our clean inventory position.”

Meanwhile, the St. Louis-based firm said it is working to renew and extend its $350-million revolving credit facility and has received commitments of more than $350 million so far.