Footwear marketer Maxwell Shoe Co Inc on Thursday announced a 3.2 per cent rise in third quarter earnings to $3.5 million from $3.4m in 2001 and raised its earnings outlook for the full fiscal year.

The Massachusetts-based company, which markets brands including Mootsies Tootsies, Joan & David and Anne Klein, said net sales grew 3.3 per cent to $46.4m and lifted its full-year sales growth target to between $200m and $203m.

Maxwell Shoe also raised its forecast diluted earnings per share to 87-89 cents from its original outllok of 85-87 cents.

"We are pleased to report third quarter results met external expectations, despite a shift of anticipated sales from the third quarter to the fourth quarter," stated Mark Cocozza, chairman and CEO.

"We remain excited about the remainder of the year. To this point, we ended the quarter with a backlog increase of 18.6 per cent and we achieved a substantial increase in shipments for this August, the first month of our fourth quarter and typically a good indication of our fall results."