Third quarter profit at shoe designer, wholesaler and marketer Steven Madden Ltd has plunged to $3.7 million, or $0.26 per diluted share, from $7.1 million, or $0.50 per diluted share, in the same period last year. 

In a statement the firm said third-quarter sales were $88.6 million versus $88.7m in the year-ago period.

Operating income totalled $5.9m compared to $11.7m in the third quarter of 2003, whilst net income was $3.7m compared to $7.1m in 2003.

Retail revenues for the third quarter increased 3.0 per cent to $23.8m from $23.1m in the same period of 2003. Same-store sales were flat versus a decrease of 4.9 per cent last year.

Revenues from the wholesale business, which consists of Steve Madden Womens, Steve Madden Mens, Stevies, l.e.i., Steven, Unionbay, and Candie's, were $64.9m for the third quarter compared with $65.6m in the prior-year period.

For the first nine months of 2004, sales were $253.6 million compared to $253.1 million for the same period in 2003. Net income was $11.9 million, or $0.83 per diluted share, versus $17.9 million, or $1.27 per diluted share, in the comparable period last year.

The company said it continues to expect a total annual sales increase of low single digits over 2003, with annual diluted earnings per share of $0.86 to $0.88.