Steve Madden Stays on Track

Steven Madden Ltd. expects to meet its sales and earnings targets for the full year after its healthy wholesale business helped offset a soft retail environment in the first quarter.

The Long Island City, N.Y.-based firm posted net earnings for the period of $23.6 million, or 36 cents a diluted share, up from $23.4 million, or 35 cents, a year earlier, adjusted for the three-for-two stock split effective Oct. 2, 2013.

The result was in line with analysts’ consensus forecast for earnings per share of 36 cents.

Sales for the first quarter rose 9.2 percent to $304.6 million, compared with $278.9 million in the same period of 2013. The result beat the Street’s forecast of $296.5 million.

Edward Rosenfeld, chairman and CEO of the company, said on a conference call with investors and analysts, “In [the] first quarter [of] 2014, we were once again confronted with a tough environment, including weak mall traffic, difficult weather conditions and few significant fashion footwear trends on which to capitalize. In spite of these challenges, we delivered our 23rd consecutive quarter of growth in both sales and EPS.

“Consistency of our results over the last several years and our solid performance this quarter in a difficult environment demonstrates the power of our brands, particularly our flagship Steve Madden brand and the strength of our diversified business model,” Rosenfeld added, citing double-digit growth during the quarter in the firm’s women’s, men’s, Madden Girl, kids’ and Freebird by Steven brands. 

The CEO noted wholesale net sales increased 13.3 percent in the first quarter, driven by strong growth across all Steve Madden brands.

“We also added a luxury brand to our portfolio in the quarter with our acquisition of majority ownership in the Brian Atwood intellectual property,” he said.

On the outlook for the full year, Rosenfeld said, “We remain on track to meet our sales and earnings targets for the year.”

The firm reiterated its previous guidance for the full year and said that it expects net sales will increase by between 5 percent and 7 percent year-on-year.

Diluted earnings for the full year are expected to be in the range of $2.05 to $2.15 per share, unchanged from previous guidance.

During the quarter, the company said it opened one full-price store and three outlet locations, in addition to closing two full-price stores.

Shares of Steve Madden were 72 cents, or 2 percent lower, at $34.89 in morning trading on Thursday.

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