• Q3 net earnings $10.9m, down from $12.2m 
  • Sales fall 3.5% to $235.8m versus $244.4m
  • Profit and sales hit by calendar shift

Value footwear retailer Shoe Carnival has blamed an unfavourable calendar shift for a 10.7% decline in third-quarter net profit.

The company said a one-week shift in the fiscal calendar moved an important week of back-to-school sales into the second quarter this year - with the knock-on effect of reducing third-quarter sales by $21.2m.

During the three months to 2 November, comparable store sales edged up 0.7%. Gross margin, however, slipped to 30.1% from 31.3% a year ago.

President and CEO Cliff Sifford said: "The arrival of October's seasonably cool weather and an end to the federal government shutdown was a welcomed relief in the third quarter.

"October's mid-single digit comparable store sales gain, together with August's sales performance, more than offset our negative September sales trend. Higher merchandise margins coupled with lower expenses than were originally projected resulted in earnings at the high-end of our expectations."

The company expects fourth-quarter earnings per diluted share to be in the range of $0.18-0.22, up from $0.13 in the same period last year. Sales are forecast to be between $215m and $219m, up on last year's $205.7m.