Footwear retailer Brown Shoe has announced large-scale restructuring plans as it revealed third quarter profits beat expectations with a 36% leap.

The company said it plans to close its Needham, Massachusetts office and consolidate operations from that location into its existing New York City facilities.

It will also close its Dover, New Hampshire distribution centre and outsource its Canadian wholesale business to a third-party operator.

Brown Shoe expects the changes to boost efficiency and drive its earnings improvement plan.

Key elements of the restructuring plan include redesigning its logistics and distribution platforms and refining the supply chain process and enhancing inventory utilisation.

The changes are expected to lead to annual after-tax benefits of between US$17m and $20m by 2008.

For the third quarter, Brown Shoe posted net earnings of $26.9m compared to $19.77m a year ago. Net sales increased by 9.6%.

Chairman and CEO Ron Fromm said: "We delivered an all-time record quarter driven by an exceptional performance by our Famous Footwear chain in the period and solid contributions from our wholesale and specialty retail segments."

The company now expects fiscal fourth-quarter diluted earnings -per-share to be in the range of $0.48 to $0.53, inclusive of $0.04 per diluted share related to stock option expense. It expects 2006 full-year earnings in the range of $2.28 to $2.33 per share.