Genesco Inc (NYSE: GCO) reported earnings from continuing operations of $5.5m, or $0.24 per diluted share, for the second quarter ended July 29, 2000, compared with $4.2m, or $0.18 per diluted share, for the second quarter last year.

Net sales for the quarter increased 18 per cent to $142.7m from $121m in the second quarter a year ago.

Net earnings of $2.6m, or $0.13 per diluted share, included a previously announced after tax provision of $3m, or $0.11 per diluted share, for the company's plan to exit the leather business.

On June 19, 2000, the company announced that it had sold its leather finishing business and would close its leather tanning operations. As required by generally accepted accounting principles, the net operating results of the leather segment are reflected in the company's earnings statement as "Discontinued Operations" and are otherwise excluded from the statement.

Ben T. Harris, Genesco chairman, president and chief executive officer, said: "These strong results, again exceeding expectations in a challenging retail environment, are a testament to our in-depth knowledge of our consumer, our ability to quickly and effectively respond to changes in the marketplace, and the strength of our brands.

"The Journeys division grew with total sales increasing 33 per cent in the quarter, with a solid comp store gain of 8 per cent. Journeys' strong performance over the first half of the year underscores its position as the leading destination footwear retailer for teenagers. The Journeys management team continues to react quickly to the wants and needs of its customer. We opened 53 Journeys stores thus far this year and anticipate opening another 47 in the second half of the year, which will bring our total to 424 Journeys stores by year end. With a strong start to the third quarter, we are very excited about Journeys prospects for the second half of the year.

"Johnston & Murphy reported another solid quarter with a 17 per cent increase in total sales, reflecting healthy growth in both wholesale operations and the Johnston & Murphy retail shops, which posted a 7 per cent comparable stores sales increase over last year's second quarter. A broadening product line and growing accessory business contributed to the strong quarter, as did Internet sales, which continue to climb.

"The Jarman division continued its improvement for the quarter with total sales up 13 per cent, comp stores up two per cent and better operating margin. We were particularly encouraged by the strong performance of the Underground Station stores.

"Within Genesco's Licensed Brands segment, Dockers again reported an outstanding quarter and Nautica met our expectations as it continued its repositioning efforts.

"Our overall strength in the first half and the improving momentum in key areas of our business thus far in the third quarter gives us a positive outlook on the remainder of the year."

For the six months ended July 29, 2000, earnings from continuing operations were $11.7m, or $0.50 per diluted share, compared with $8.2m, or $0.33 per diluted share last year. Net sales for the six months increased 18 per cent to $288.8m from $244.4m for the same period a year ago.

Net earnings for the six months ended July 29, 2000, were $8.5m, or $0.38 per diluted share, reflecting the charge to exit the leather business discussed above, compared with $8.2m, or $0.33 per diluted share, last year.

During the first six months of its fiscal year, the company purchased 443,100 shares of its common stock at a cost of $5.4m under a one-million-share buyback authorized in February 2000.

About Genesco
Genesco, based in Nashville, sells footwear and accessories in more than 765 retail stores in the US, principally under the names Journeys, Johnston & Murphy and Jarman, and on Internet website. The company also sells footwear at wholesale under its Johnston & Murphy brand and under the licensed Dockers and Nautica brands.
Additional information on Genesco and its operating divisions may be accessed at its website