Branded men's footwear maker Weyco Group Inc has posted a 1.3% rise in fourth quarter profit, helped by higher sales of its Florsheim and Stacy Adams brands.

For the three months to 31 December, net earnings were up to $7.8m from $7.7m in the same period last year, while earnings per share climbed 3% to $0.66 from $0.64.

Net sales rose 3% to $62.2m from $60.6m, the company said.

Quarterly sales in the wholesale division, which include wholesale sales and licensing revenues, slipped 3.1% to $52.8m from $51.2m. Wholesale sales were up 3% to $51.5m and licensing revenues were up 8.3% to $1.3m.

Sales of the Florsheim brand grew 5% after the Canadian business moved from a licensing to a wholesale platform. 

Sales of the Stacy Adams brand rose 11%, while sales of the Nunn Bush brand were down 3%.

Retail sales were flat in the fourth quarter of 2007, and same store sales were down 2%.

For the full year, net earnings were up 5% to $22.9m from $21.9m, with earnings per share at $1.91 compared with $1.81 last year

Net sales for the 12 months rose 5% to $232.6m from $221.0m. Wholesale division revenues rose 5.3% to $201.5m from $191.3m.

Wholesale sales were up 5% to $197.4m and licensing revenues were flat at $4.1m.

Retail sales increased 5% in 2007 to $31.1m, up from $29.8m, and same store sales rose 2%.

Tom Florsheim Jr, chairman and CEO, warned that the business had "started to see a slow down of retail footwear sales at our customers and in our own stores during the second half of the year, particularly in the fourth quarter."

But he added: "We feel that the slowdown that we are seeing is caused by general economic factors, and that our brands are well positioned to grow over the long term."