Firms Forecast Positive Q4, Full-Year Reports

Several footwear companies updated their earnings and sales guidance this week on the heels of a largely stronger-than-expected holiday season.

DSW Inc. said it sees fiscal 2009 same-store sales rising 3 percent — up from a prior estimate for a 1 percent increase — while earnings per share are forecast at $1.15 to $1.25, versus a previous expectation for 90 cents to $1. 

The firm cited “better-than-expected sales performance and margin improvement for the fourth quarter.”

Sales came in above expectations for the fourth quarter at Shoe Carnival Inc., which on Monday upped its same-store sales guidance for the period to an increase of 7 percent to 8 percent, from a prior outlook for a 3 percent to 5 percent rise.

“We are pleased that our value proposition for name-brand footwear continues to resonate well with the consumer. This is resulting in sales above our original expectations for the fourth quarter,” Mark Lemond, president and CEO, said in a statement. “Our merchandise assortment is allowing us to capitalize on key fashion trends in women’s boots, athletic and toning categories. We continue to execute our strategy to gain long-term market share, improve profitability and generate free cash flow.”

The firm expects net sales to come in at $168 million to $169 million for the quarter.

Brown Shoe Inc. said comps for the nine weeks ended Jan. 2 exceeded expectations, rising 7 percent, with same-store sales in its specialty retail division increasing 4.9 percent. 

“We are pleased with our strong holiday performance at retail. Our increased same-store sales were driven by fresh product assortments, enhanced store and online shopping environments, and targeted marketing communications,” Chairman and CEO Ron Fromm said in a statement. “Sales at our wholesale division are in-line with our expectations for the first nine weeks of the quarter, though a substantial portion of our orders are planned to ship in the last week of the quarter and, as always, will be dependent upon whether our retail partners take receipt in the last week in January or in the first quarter.”

Skechers USA Inc. expects to return to a profit in the fourth quarter, thanks to strong holiday sales. The firm said Tuesday that fourth-quarter revenues should come in around $385 million, versus $298.1 million the prior year. As a result, EPS are seen at 50 cents, which would compare with a loss of 44 cents a year ago.

“Our record sales and profitability for the fourth quarter is a meaningful accomplishment, especially given the challenging retail environment,” David Weinberg, COO and CFO at Skechers, said in a statement. “In the first six months of 2009, we cleared through excess inventory, returning to profitability in the second half of 2009 with fresh product and new initiatives that were strongly received.”

And at Genesco Inc., the firm reiterated its full-year earnings expectation for $1.07 to $1.13 a share, saying that same-store sales for the quarter ended Jan. 9 were up 1 percent. By group, Journeys sales were down 2 percent, while Hat World had a 7 percent rise and Johnston & Murphy saw comps increase 1 percent.

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