Shoes and accessories company Steven Madden has upped its full-year earnings outlook but predicted 2007 sales growth well below many Wall Street expectations.

Madden reported a third-quarter net income of US$12.6m compared to $5.5m in the year-ago period. Sales were up 23.2% during the quarter to $123.2m from $100.1m last year.

The company cited margin improvements in both the wholesale and retail segments.

For the first nine months of fiscal 2006, net sales increased 27.0% to $361.1m from $284.4m and net income grew to $36.2m from $11.8m.

"Our design team, led by Steve, continued to deliver compelling, trend- right product that fuelled consumer demand and solidified the strength of our brands in the marketplace," said chairman and CEO Jamieson Karson.

"We also continued to diversify our business and build a platform for future growth. Specifically, we signed a license agreement for a collection of Steve Madden and Steven by Steve Madden dresses, and our subsidiary, Daniel M Friedman & Associates, entered into a licensing agreement to manufacture and distribute handbags and belts under the Tracy Reese brand."

Madden now expects fiscal 2006 net sales to jump about 25% to 26% over last year and foresees earnings per share of between $2.05 and $2.10.

It currently estimates 2007 net sales will rise in the mid-single digits on a percentage basis over 2006 and earnings per share will range between $2.20 and $2.30.