Strong Start for Steve Madden

Strength in Steve Madden Women’s, Madden Girl and L.E.I. helped boost earnings by 68 percent for Steven Madden Ltd. in the first quarter.

The company reported yesterday a profit of $6.6 million, or 37 cents a diluted share, for the first quarter ended March 31, more than triple its net earnings of $2.1 million, or 10 cents, for the same period in 2008. Analysts surveyed on Yahoo Finance had predicted earnings per share of 36 cents.

Net sales for the Long Island City, N.Y.-based company jumped to $107.4 million, up 7 percent from $100.5 million in the year-ago period. Steve Madden’s wholesale business was up 8 percent to $81.3 million, while retail sales jumped 4 percent to $26.1 million in the first quarter. Same-store sales increased 7.6 percent, compared with a 3.7 percent loss in the first quarter of 2008.

“We’re pleased to have reported solid first-quarter results in light of the difficult macro environment,” Edward Rosenfeld, the company’s chairman and CEO, said during a conference call. “We believe that our performance speaks to the strength of our brands and the design excellence of Steve and his team.”

Steve Madden also reaffirmed its guidance for net sales to range from flat to a 2 percent decline for full-year 2009, with diluted EPS to range from $1.85 to $1.95. Those estimates are in line with the company’s announcement on April 23 that it was raising its full-year guidance to reflect unexpected strength in its first-quarter earnings.

The company’s stock closed at $29.34 on Tuesday, down 2.7 percent.

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