• Q1 earnings climb to US$10.4m
  • Gross margin flat at 29.5%
  • Sales increase to $252.8m

Footwear retailer Shoe Carnival saw its earnings and sales climb in the first quarter despite a "challenging" start to the year.

Net earnings in the three months ended 2 May amounted to US$10.4m from earnings of $9.2m a year earlier. Gross profit margin remained flat at 29.5%.

Sales increased $17m to a first-quarter record for the company of $252.8m, while comparable store sales were up 3% in the first quarter of fiscal 2015

CEO Cliff Sifford, said: "We are pleased with our comparable store sales growth and our ability to deliver strong first quarter earnings. While the quarter started off very challenging due to adverse weather, with over 400 days of store closures, the consumer responded favourably to our family footwear assortment. In addition, our initiative launched in fiscal 2014 to bring fulfilment of our e-commerce orders in-house has continued to pay dividends as our customers continued to take advantage of the increase in both selection and depth of sizes available to them online."

The company expects fiscal 2015 net sales to be in the range of $977m to $991m, with a comparable store sales increase in the range of 1.5% to 3%. Earnings per diluted share are expected to be in the range of $1.42 to $1.48.

Neil Saunders, CEO of Conlumino, noted: "Although sales growth has moderated somewhat since the last quarter, when Shoe Carnival was boosted by the sale of boots over the cold winter months, this is nonetheless a good performance to kick off the new fiscal year.

"While it is certainly true that the company has fallen slightly below analyst expectations in terms of revenue, some of this can be attributed to adverse weather at the start of the quarter which resulted in a collective 400 days of store closures."