• Earnings soar 188%
  • "Footwear resonated well", says boss
  • Sales growth above expectations

US footwear retailer Shoe Carnival posted its second best ever quarterly earnings thanks to accelerated Q3 sales.

Net sales for the third quarter of 2009 increased 12.6% to $191.5m compared to net sales of $170.1m in the third quarter of 2008. Same-store sales increased 10.2%.

Net earnings for the thirteen-week third quarter increased 188% to $7.5m compared to $2.6m in the same period last year.

The chain's gross profit margin for the third quarter increased to 29.8% compared to 27.2% in the third quarter of the prior year. Its merchandise margin increased 1.1% primarily as a result of improved inventory management resulting in less clearance product along with strong sales of boots which carry a higher margin.

Selling, general and administrative expenses for the third quarter increased $2.5m to $44.9m, the company said.

Mark Lemond, chief executive officer and president said: "Our large selection of value priced name brand footwear resonated well with consumers resulting in the highest third quarter comparable store sales gain in the company's history.

"We experienced higher than expected sales of athletic product during the back-to-school season and very strong boot sales later in the quarter.

"Our 10.2% comparable store sales gain was significantly above our expectations for a low to mid single digit comparable store sales increase for the quarter. The sales increase, combined with a higher gross profit margin and controlled expenses, resulted in our second best quarterly earnings in the company's history."

Net income for the first nine months of 2009 was $12.6m compared to net income of $8.4m in the first nine months of last year, with net sales for the first nine months were $511.6m compared to net sales of $490.7m for the same period last year.

Click here for the company's full third quarter earnings results.