Like Famous Footwear, this 313-door chain will prepare for what it believes will be a strong, but promotional, back-to-school season by adding more athletic merchandise, particularly in the children’s segment, to its inventory.
In the first quarter ended May 2, Shoe Carnival’s turnover grew by 3.2 percent to $167.3 million, but that couldn’t prevent a 13.6 percent drop in net income to $4.1 million. The gross margin fell by 1.1 percentage points to 27.9 percent.
Comparable store sales were flat, but children’s athletics were up by the double digits and adult athletics, bolstered by Chuck Taylor, urban fashion styles and running, increased by mid-single digits on a comparable basis. Skate products, which fell in the quarter, are forecast to rebound for back-to-school, and classics could see a significant uptick due to greater availability in urban doors.
Women’s casual sales were down as well, and markdowns to clear this inventory hurt total the total sales number. However, sandals held their own with a decent performance, and Shoe Carnival is optimistic about its juniors business. In men’s non-athletic shoes, the company sees a trend toward comfort dress shoes, boat shoes and sports sandals.
Traffic dropped by 2.7 percent, but average transactions increased by 2.3 percent and unit per transaction crept up by 0.7 percent. Shoe Carnival plans to open 15 new stores this fiscal year while closing 10. It expects a mid-single-digit decline in comparable sales in the second quarter, with relatively stable gross margins.