Footwear retailer Shoe Carnival has reported its highest-ever earnings with a 46.3 per cent third-quarter income hike.

Net income totalled $7.2 million compared with net income of $4.9m a year ago, as sales jumped 12.3 per cent to $182.7m from $162.7m last year. Same-store sales were up 8.3 per cent during the period.

President and chief executive Mark Lemond said: "With two record-breaking quarters in 2005, we're obviously pleased with the results so far this year.

"In the third quarter, each of our major product categories posted a comparable-store sales increase. Importantly, we continue to make great progress in our initiative of strengthening our women's dress and casual business.

"In fact, the largest quarterly comparable-store sales increases came from women's dress shoes and women's boots, both of which were up 40 per cent."

Shoe Carnival operates 266 footwear stores in the US in which it sells brand name and private footwear for the whole family.