US footwear giant Payless ShoeSource Inc on Wednesday announced a 30 per cent jump in second quarter net profit to $47.2 million, or $2.07 share, from $36.4m, or $1.60 a share, in the year-ago period despite a slip in sales.

The Kansas-based company, which is the country’s largest footwear chain with around 5,000 stores, said lower costs and better inventories cancelled out the 3.7 per cent fall in net sales to $776.2m from $806m in 2001. Same-store sales dropped almost six per cent.

It added in a statement it expects full-year earnings in the range of $4.70 to $4.90 and a fall in same-store sales in the low single digits.

"Payless ShoeSource achieved earnings growth, reduced debt and increased its cash position despite a disappointing sales performance in a tough consumer environment," said chairman and CEO Steven Douglass.

"Our challenge for the second half of fiscal 2002 is to build sales momentum by repositioning our core business, the Payless ShoeSource chain.

"We will do this by focusing on strategies designed to re-emphasize our position in the market as the merchandise authority in value priced footwear. We will deliver a constant flow of fresh fashion ideas, to show customers something new each time they visit."