Revenues at Shoe Carnival fell in the fourth quarter ended Jan. 31, sliding by 9.4 percent to $156.9 million. The American shoe retailers’ comparable store sales dropped by 8.3 percent. The final tally for the quarter showed a loss of $3.0 million, compared with income of $1.1 million for the previous year.
The gross profit margin for the quarter was down by 2.8 percentage points to 24.7 percent, with a merchandise margin down by 2.0 percent, hit by increased promotional activities over the holidays and more aggressive clearing-out of seasonal merchandise. However, these two factors did lead to a drop in inventory of almost 10 percent compared with the same period a year before.
January sales were significantly worse than those in November and December. Women’s non-athletic shoes had a drop in sales in the low single digits, and men’s non-athletic shoes fell almost by double digits in the fourth quarter.
For the full year that ended on the same date, the numbers were not as bad, but they weren’t good either. Turnover decreased by 1.7 percent to $647.6 million, and comparable store sales were down by 4.6 percent. Earnings fell by 58.6 percent but at least stayed positive at $5.3 million. The gross profit margin for the year fell by 1.3 percentage points to 26.9 percent.
The chain grew by 13 stores over the year (24 opened, 11 closed) for a total of 304 as of Jan. 31. For the current fiscal year, Shoe Carnival expects to open 15 stores, 10 of them in the first quarter. About 10 stores will probably close over the year.
In February, the first month of the current fiscal year, the company did much better. Comparable store sales increased in the high single digits despite sales being largely clearance-driven in the first half of the month. Athletic shoes performed well in February.