Bakers Footwear Group has posted third quarter net loss of US$15.3m, from net loss of $2.6m in the corresponding period last year, with results disappointing after an aggressive clearance of its sandals.

Net sales were $40.3m, the company said, compared to $46.6m for the thirteen-week period ended 28 October 2006. Same-store sales for the quarter decreased 16.6%, compared to a decrease of 4.2% in the prior-year period.

Peter Edison, chairman and CEO of Bakers Footwear Group said: "We are disappointed with our third quarter results, which reflect a more aggressive clearance of sandals given the unfavourable response to this segment of our business early in the quarter, as well as unseasonably warm weather that led to lower levels of store traffic and affected boot sales during the latter half of the period.

"On a positive note, during the quarter we moved swiftly to reduce costs and promoted key talent within our design, store and merchandising teams to infuse newness and excitement into our offerings. At the same time, we maintained our disciplined approach to inventory management. We ended the third quarter with inventory down more than 21% from the third quarter last year and remain pleased with both the level and composition of our inventory, as we enter the fourth quarter.

"We are achieving the cost reductions we anticipated and continue to expect to generate annual savings of $8.0 million, positively impacting operating results in fiscal 2008 with benefits also expected to positively affect net income in the fourth quarter this year. In addition, our business trends have improved markedly from the third quarter with fourth quarter-to-date comparable store sales down 1.4% from the prior year. We believe these efforts have us positioned to achieve improved operating results in the fourth quarter and beyond."

For the first nine months of fiscal 2007, net sales were $131.5m, compared to $143.5m for the thirty-nine weeks in 2006. Same-store sales decreased 14.6% compared to a 3.8% decline in the first nine months of fiscal 2006. Net loss was $25.0m compared to a net loss of $3.0m in the first nine months of fiscal 2006.

During the first nine months of fiscal 2007, the company opened six new stores and remodelled seven stores, it said. The company plans no additional store openings or remodels for the remainder of fiscal 2007.

Separately, the company also announced that Lawrence Spanley, Jr, CFO of Bakers Footwear Group, will retire effective February 2008. Charles R Daniel, III, currently controller of Bakers will be promoted to the position of vice president - finance and principal financial officer then, the company said.

"I want to thank Larry for his 16 years of dedicated service that included significant contributions to Bakers Footwear. His efforts assisted us to build an outstanding financial team and I wish him well in his retirement," Edison said. "I am also pleased to promote Charlie to the position of VP - Finance and principal financial officer. Charlie brings over 25 years of financial knowledge and experience to this position, with an established track record at Bakers."