Value footwear retailer Shoe Carnival Inc has posted a 38% slump in third quarter profit after being hit by a sales slowdown in September and October.

Net earnings for the three months to 1 November were $2.6m, or $0.21 per share, compared to $4.2m, or $0.33 per share, a year earlier.

Sales for the third quarter slipped 2.2% to $170.1m from $173.9m, and same-store sales fell 5%.

The gross profit margin dropped to 27.2% from 29.1% last time, with merchandise margin falling to 1.1% of sales. Buying, distribution and occupancy costs increased 0.8%.

Mark Lemond, chief executive officer and president said: "Sales trended lower during September and October when spending became more discretionary."

The retailer, which operates a chain of 311 stores, reduced selling, general and administrative expenses by $1.2m or 0.2% of sales and has reduced inventories per store by 8.0%.