Losses Expand at Bakers

Bakers Footwear Group Inc. posted a wider third-quarter loss Wednesday on a decline in sales.

The firm reported a loss of $10.2 million, or $1.38, versus a loss of $8.3 million, or $1.18, the prior year. Net sales fell to $39 million from $41.1 million last year. Comps fell 5.1 percent.

“In a period that typically represents a seasonal loss for our company, and despite tougher sales comparisons from last year, we continued to successfully manage our inventory levels, control our operating expenses and maintain compliance with our debt covenants,” Peter Edison, chairman and CEO of Bakers, said in a written statement. “Our quarter-end balance sheet included a 14 percent decline in inventory. Although comparable-store sales declined for the quarter and were below our expectations, consumer response to our boot offerings across key categories was strong.”

He added that comps were down 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter through Dec. 6, but that comps rose 4 percent from Black Friday on Nov. 27 through Dec. 6, aided by strength in boot sales.

“We are also excited by a favorable response to our early spring product that was delivered to warm weather stores,” Edison said.

Bakers said it expects to remain in compliance with its financial covenants through the rest of 2009.

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