Shoe producer and retailer The Stride Rite Corp on Thursday posted a three per cent slide in second quarter net profit to $11.2 million from $11.6m in the year-ago period as sales slipped one per cent to $154.3m.

The Massachusetts-based firm, whose brands include Keds, Sperry Top-Sider, Tommy Hilfiger, Grasshoppers and Munchkin, said sales of the Stride Rite Children's Group increased four per cent year-on-year with same-store sales at its 230 stores up nine per cent.

Chairman and CEO, David Chamberlain, said: "We are pleased with our solid earnings given the cold spring, war in Iraq and soft retail environment. As we stated previously, our second quarter wholesale sales are heavily dependent on consumer sell through and retail customer reorders.

"The Keds product line was well received in the first quarter, however, the very poor canvas trend clearly contributed to their second quarter 10 per cent sales decline. Sperry Top-Sider sales growth of eight per cent in the quarter reflected their continued positive momentum, particularly in performance boat shoes.

"Tommy Hilfiger second quarter sales results, although below last year, followed a very strong first quarter resulting in an 11 per cent first half sales increase."

He added: "Our second half financial results will be driven by the success of our fall product which is just now beginning to arrive at retail. Our earnings guidance remains unchanged for the year with annual earnings anticipated to be in the $.60 - $.64 per share range."