Brown Shoe Posts Gains in Q2

Strong sales increases across the board lifted Brown Shoe Co. out of the red for the second quarter, the company said Wednesday.

For the period ended July 31, Brown Shoe’s net earnings were $5.3 million, or 12 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $4.2 million, or 10 cents, in the period ended Aug. 1, 2009.

Net sales for the group increased 15 percent to $585.8 million, from $511.6 million.

Famous Footwear revenue improved 11 percent to $347.3 million, driven by an 11.8 percent same-store sales increase. Wholesale revenue rose 26 percent to $178.6 million, while sales from the specialty retail division totaled $59.8 million, reflecting a 6.8 percent same-store sales increase.

“The strong sales trend led us to significantly decrease our promotional activity in the quarter at Famous Footwear, which helped fuel the increase in gross margins versus the second quarter a year ago,” Ron Fromm, Brown Shoe’s chairman and CEO, said during a conference call with analysts.

Gains were also recorded at all the company’s contemporary brands — including Via Spiga, Franco Sarto, Sam Edelman and Vera Wang — which as a group grew more than 40 percent in the quarter, said Diane Sullivan, president and COO of Brown Shoe.

“Looking forward, the quarter backlog for the wholesale division is in great shape [at] almost 60 percent and reflects strong growth expectations,” added Sullivan.

Brown Shoe had cash and cash equivalents of $30.7 million at the end of the quarter, after investing $32.7 million in cash and $7.3 million in stock to complete the Sam Edelman acquisition in June. Long-term debt remained unchanged at $150 million.

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