Third quarter profit at value-priced footwear and accessories retailer Shoe Carnival Inc has seen its third quarter profit halved on lower store traffic and sales.

Net income for the 13 weeks to 3 November slumped to $4.2m from $8.4m in the prior year period, while diluted earnings per share tumbled to $0.33 from $0.61.

Net sales for the quarter were down 8.0% to $173.9m from $189.1m, and comparable store sales fell 5.0% the Evansville, Indiana based company said.

Gross profit margin at the 294 store chain was down to 29.1% compared to 30.0%.

Speaking on the results, Mark Lemond, chief executive officer and president said: "We believe the current challenging economic environment continues to directly affect our target consumer."

He added that a warm autumn selling season suppressed sales of traditional autumn and winter product, especially boots.

For the nine-month period, net income fell 37% to $11.7m, or $0.87 per share, from $18.6m, or $1.36 per diluted share, last year. Net sales were down 2.0% to $494.3m from $504.4m.

For the fourth quarter, net sales are expected to range from $167m to $169m and same-store sales to decline 4% to 5%. Earnings are likely to range from $0.10 to $0.13 per share.