• "Better-than-expected fourth quarter results"
  • Swings to Q4 profit
  • Strong second half performance

Footwear firm Brown Shoe Company has swung to a fourth quarter profit after seeing an uptick in sales.

The retailer's net sales in the fourth quarter increased 8.6% versus the year-ago quarter. Net earnings were $5.0m, compared to a net loss of $153.0m in Q4 2008.

Ron Fromm, Brown Shoe’s chairman and CEO, said: “We are pleased to report better-than-expected fourth quarter results and an overall strong second-half performance.

"This achievement is even more gratifying given the challenging economic environment that existed throughout the year. Our core brands, Famous Footwear, Naturalizer, and Dr. Scholl’s, led the way.

"Both Famous Footwear and Naturalizer delivered high-single digit same-store sales increases in the quarter and demonstrated the strength of their multi-channel offerings with double digit gains in their direct-to-consumer businesses."

Selling and administrative expenses in the fourth quarter of 2009 increased by $4.3m. Inventory at quarter-end was $456.7m, a 2% decrease from the year-ago level.

Brown Shoe expects consolidated net sales for the next year to grow in the mid-single digit range, with first quarter net sales expected to increase in the low-single digits.