Footwear firm Steve Madden Ltd saw its profit fall 78% during the first quarter, due largely to a one-time charge of US$3m resulting from the resignation of the company's former chief executive officer.

Jamieson Karson resigned as chairman and CEO on 25 March.

The company posted net income of $2.1m, compared to $9.5m in last year's quarter, including a one-time after-tax charge of $3.0m, including the costs of Karson's resignation.

Net sales for the first quarter ended 31 March were down 5.8% to $100.5m, from $106.7m last year, a statement said.

Revenues from its wholesale business slipped 8.1% to $75.6m on lower sales of its Candie's and Stevies lines.

Retail revenues, meanwhile, rose 2.6% to $25.0m, boosted by sales from new stores. Same-store sales were down 3.7%.

"While our results in the first quarter continued to reflect an overall challenging macroeconomic environment, we experienced an improvement in certain areas of our business compared to the latter half of 2007," said Edward Rosenfeld, interim CEO.

The company maintained its guidance for the full fiscal year, expecting 2008 net sales to be flat to an increase of 2% compared to fiscal 2007 and earnings per diluted share to range between $1.55 and $1.65.