Shoe Carnival Inc. kept the momentum going in the third quarter, beating analyst expectations and sending its shares up 4 percent in Friday morning trading.
For the period ended Oct. 30, Shoe Carnival’s net income increased 21 percent to $9.1 million, or 70 cents a share, compared with $7.5 million, or 59 cents, in the same period a year ago.
Net sales for the quarter increased 7 percent to $204.4 million, thanks to comparable store sales advancing 7.2 percent.
Analysts were looking for EPS of 65 cents on revenue of $199.6 million, as polled by Yahoo Finance.
Mark Lemond, president and CEO of Shoe Carnival, said on a conference call with analysts that the firm’s inventory levels and merchandise assortment led to success early in the back-to-school sales period, and continued throughout the quarter.
The firm said it saw strength across all major merchandise categories, including boots for women and casuals for men. The performance running category for both men and women generated double-digit increases in excess of 20 percent, said Clifton Sifford, EVP and GMM at Shoe Carnival.
“Toning continues to add to our overall comparable store increase in athletics,” said Sifford, adding that “we definitely expect the category to continue to have a positive impact on comparable store sales for the fourth quarter of 2010.”
Sterne Agee analyst Sam Poser said in a research note that “the introduction of the toning category proved that higher price points could be sold well at Shoe Carnival.”
The firm’s gross profit margin inched up 0.3 percentage points to 30.1 percent while selling, general and administrative expenses, as a percentage of sales, decreased 0.4 percentage points to 23 percent.
The retailer ended the quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $43.3 million, up from $27.3 million the same time last year.