Women Are Keeping Steve Madden’s Business Afloat During Retail’s Rough Patch

Thanks to strength in its core women’s business, Steve Madden is remaining fairly nimble during retail’s turbulent times. The fashion-footwear maker today announced fourth quarter earnings that were roughly in line with forecasts.

Madden’s Q4 net income advanced 12 percent year-over-year, to $28.7 million, or 49 cents per diluted share, matching Wall Street’s bets. (Full-year net income also gained 7 percent, to $120.9 million, or $2.03 per diluted share.)

The firm’s fourth-quarter sales slipped 2.3 percent, to $336.4 million, just shy of forecasts predicting revenues of $338.2 million, while same-store sales increased 1.1 percent. (Full-year sales decreased 0.4 percent, to $1.4 billion.)

Noting significant strength in sales for the core women’s lines, Steve Madden chairman and CEO Edward Rosenfeld said he was pleased that the firm delivered EPS at the high-end of its guidance despite a challenging retail environment.

“While overall sales declined modestly due primarily to softness in our private label footwear and cold weather accessories businesses, we had outstanding top line growth in our core Steve Madden women’s wholesale business, and we also achieved strong gross margin improvement in both the wholesale footwear and wholesale accessories segments,” Rosenfeld said in a release.

Still, the firm kept its guidance conservative for fiscal year 2017, citing ongoing volatility in the retail environment. The company said it expects that net sales will increase 8 to 10 percent over the prior year and diluted EPS is expected to be in the range of $2.12 to $2.18 in 2017.

“As we look ahead, while we are cautious about the overall environment, we are pleased with the momentum in our core business and confident we can drive top and bottom line growth in 2017 and beyond,” Rosenfeld said.

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