Brown Shoe Co. reported net sales of $635.9 million for the second quarter, up 2.3 percent versus the second quarter of 2013. Net earnings were $18.1 million,up 17.6 percent from the year-ago period. The results were driven by a 50.5 percent increase in operating income in the company's wholesale business as well as the good impact of portfolio realignment efforts. Sales grew by a low double digit at Dr. Scholl's, but were down slightly for Naturalizer.
Famous Footwear posted sales of $393.6 million, up 1.4 percent on an annualized basis, with comparable sales up 1.6 percent, but profits were down 8.3 percent to $26.6 million. Performance in the quarter was driven by canvas shoes. During the quarter, 16 stores were closed or relocated and 17 new stores were added.
The company stressed it met expectations in the second quarter despite a industry-wide decline in traffic patterns and an overall tough retail environment. Acorss the group, the gross margin decreased to 40.8 percent from 41.0 percent in the prior year, but they improved strongly to 45.6 percent of sales from 32.6 percent at wholesale.