Leading footwear retail chain Brown Shoe Co Inc on Tuesday posted a 19 per cent climb in first quarter net income as its results were boosted by bumper sales of Spider Man-related children's shoes.

The St Louis-based operator of around 1,340 stores said its earnings for the 13-weeks ended May 4 rose to $7.6 million, or 43 cents a share, from $6.4m, or 36 cents a share, reported in the same period last year. Sales jumped to $446.7m from $436.1m in 2001.

Those results prompted Brown Shoe to raise its guidance for the full year to $2.10-$2.15 per share from $2.00-$2.10 per share. It added that its chairman and president, Ronald Fromm, would be unable to attend Thursday's AGM as he was in hospital with a staph bacterial infection but is expected to recover.