Cold Weather Made it Tough for Famous Footwear to Sell Sandals in Q1

Americans hoping for a burst of sunshine as frigid temperatures lingered into March and April weren’t the only ones feeling the winter blues.

Caleres Inc., parent of Famous Footwear and brands such as Sam Edelman, Franco Sarto and Via Spiga, said Thursday that its sales of sandals were adversely affected during the first quarter as spring made a late arrival.

“At Famous, like most in the retail space, we battled unseasonably cold weather early in the quarter,” president, chairman and CEO Diane Sullivan told investors during a call Thursday. “For February, comps were down 4 percent, then the trend improved slightly in March to flat.”

Caleres’ chief said as temperatures rose in April, so did comparable sales — gaining 1.1 percent overall, with the last two weeks of the month up more than 13 percent.
“The good news is, this positive momentum continued across the country into our second quarter with year-to-date comp sales up 1 percent through yesterday,” she added.

Q1 sales at Famous Footwear fell 0.8 percent to $363.4 million — with same-store sales also down just under 1 percent as the firm operated 39 fewer doors year over year.

“The biggest impact was the lack of selling in sandals in the first quarter,” said former Famous Footwear president Rick Ausick, who passed the torch to Molly Adams, former EVP of global merchandising and product development at The Walt Disney Co., in May.  “Obviously, [that was a] weather-related [impact]. [Weather] also affects some of our athletic business in the sense that most of those shoes are mesh-based. And when the weather gets bad, cold, snowy, whatever, that’s not a category that people flock to.”

Revenues at the brand portfolio were up 1.4 percent to $268.7 million.

Overall, Caleres’ sales for the period edged up less than 1 percent to $632.1 million, missing consensus estimates of $645 million.

Profits also missed the mark — rising 7.5 percent to 43 cents per share but below forecasts for 47 cents per share. (On a reported basis, profits gained 14.3 percent year over year to 40 cents per share.)

The firm maintained its guidance for the remainder of the fiscal year.

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