• Q3 net income grew 16.1% to $44m 
  • Net sales rose 10.6% to $394.8m from $356.9m 
  • Retail comparable store sales down 3.5%

Footwear business Steve Madden has reported a 16.1% increase in net profit during the third-quarter on the back of weaker comparisons last year and higher sales.

The company's US$37.9m net income last year included charges for impairment and bad debt related to the bankruptcy of Bakers Footwear Group. On an after-tax basis, the costs negatively impacted net income by $3.7m last year. 

"We delivered a solid quarter in a difficult retail environment," said chairman and CEO Edward Rosenfeld.

Gross margin declined to 35.4% during the three months to 30 September from 36.8% in the same period last year, mainly due to a sales mix shift to the lower-margin private label footwear business.

The group's wholesale footwear business recorded an 11% gain in branded footwear and 38% growth in private label footwear. Its accessories business, however, was more challenging and the retail business was softer-than-expected due in part to weak retail traffic trends.

"Despite these challenges, we believe that this quarter demonstrated that our flagship Steve Madden brand is stronger than ever," Rosenfeld added.