Collective Swings to Q1 Profit

Strength in the Payless children’s business, as well as the Saucony and Sperry brands, bolstered Collective Brands Inc.’s bottom line in the first quarter.
The Topeka, Kan.-based firm on Wednesday reported first-quarter net earnings of $38 million, or 59 cents a diluted share, compared with $19.7 million, or 30 cents, during the year-ago period. When adjusted for a variety of factors, including litigation, Collective’s first-quarter 2008 profits were $42.1 million, or 66 cents a diluted share.
The company rang up $862.9 million in revenue during the first quarter, a 7 percent decrease from sales of $932.4 during the first quarter of last year. Comparable-store sales for the quarter declined by 4.8 percent, as the company’s Payless ShoeSource stores dropped 5.2 percent and Stride Rite slipped a lesser 0.5 percent.
Analysts had expected Collective’s earnings per share to be 47 cents, on revenues of $890 million.
“During the first quarter, we increased our market share, we lowered our operating cost structure and we generated stronger cash flows,” Matt Rubel, chairman, CEO and president of Collective Brands, said in a statement. “We achieved growth in our children’s retail businesses and we continue to see strong growth at the consumer level led by Saucony and Sperry.”

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