Shoe Carnival Reports Q4 Loss

The fourth quarter was not kind to Shoe Carnival Inc., and the 308-door chain said it was prepared for the hard times to continue.

Losses for the quarter ended Jan. 31 totaled $3 million, or 24 cents a share, contrasted to earnings of $1.1 million, or 9 cents, a year earlier. Sales dipped 4.5 percent to $156.9 million from $164.3 million as comparable-store sales fell 8.3 percent. The firm generated free cash flow of $13.9 million in fiscal 2008 and ended the year with cash and cash equivalents of $24.8 million and no interest-bearing debt.

“We expect the retail footwear environment will continue to be challenging, at least through the first half of fiscal 2009,” said Mark Lemond, CEO and president, in a statement. “We have planned our advertising, sales promotions and inventory strategies accordingly. Our inventory levels at year-end leave us well positioned for both spring transition and market-place purchasing opportunities. Our priority for 2009 is to manage our business to increase market share, generate free cash flow and maintain our strong financial position.”