• Q4 profit jumps 55% to $6.2m 
  • Sales increase 3% to $600m 
  • Gross margin improves 20 basis points to 40.2%

US footwear firm Brown Shoe Co has booked a 55% hike in fourth-quarter net profit, thanks to higher sales and improved margins.

Famous Footwear sales were down 8.6% year-on-year to $347.4m with same store sales slipping 1.8%. The company said performance was impacted by severe winter weather, which hurt running shoe sales while helping to drive boot sales.

Wholesale revenues, meanwhile, grew 13.5% to $196.3m. For the Healthy Living platform, wholesale sales were up 4.3%, led by a double-digit improvement in Naturalizer. The group's Contemporary Fashion wholesale sales rose 28.2% with increases from key brands Sam Edelman and Franco Sarto.

"Brown Shoe Co delivered a successful fourth quarter and 2013," said CEO, president and chairman Diane Sullivan.

For the full year, net earnings soared 38.5% to $38.1m from $27.5m, while sales reached $2.51bn, up 1.4% over $2.48bn in the prior year period.

"We are looking forward to continuing to execute against our strategies to deliver increasing shareholder value, as we grow our retail and wholesale businesses in 2014," Sullivan added. 

The company expects 2014 earnings per share of $1.45 to $1.55, representing a 3-10% rise over the prior year and net sales to be between $2.58bn and $2.60bn.