Footwear retailer Payless ShoeSource Inc has posted lower first quarter net earnings of $13.8 million, down from $14.1m in the same period a year earlier.

The Kansas-based company, which operates a total of 5066 stores, also posted a 3.5 per cent rise in sales to $722m for the quarter, up from $697.7m in the previous first quarter.

Same-store sales, meanwhile, crept up 2.8 percent during the three-month period.

Despite the earnings downturn, CEO Steven Douglass said he was "very enthusiastic" about the company's first quarter performance.