Topeka, KS–Collective Brands posted today a 43% increase in first quarter profit, buoyed by international sales growth of 23.1% from its Payless Shoe chain and its Performance and Lifestyle Group (PLG).
“We experienced strong global growth in a number of our Performance and Lifestyle Group brands, and had excellent sales performance at Payless International to drive strong earnings and cash flow for the company,” said Matthew Rubel, chairman, eo and president.
Sales at the company’s Payless domestic unit, which makes up for more than two-thirds of its business, fell 4% during the quarter. “We entered the first quarter with a very lean inventory position of clearance merchandise at Payless which negatively affected the Payless Domestic sales performance in February,” Rubel added.
Collective Brands, which is the holding company of Payless ShoeSource and Stride Rite, posted net income of $54.2 million, or 83 cents share, up from $38.0 million, or 59 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue at Collective Brands, which bought shoe maker Stride Rite last year, rose marginally to $878.8 million.
Market analysts report that the company, whose brands include Saucony, Sperry Top-Sider and Keds, benefited from early warm weather in the first quarter which helped spurred sales of sandals, and from the toning footwear trend. The firm added that the company continues to boost its fashion appeal, most recently adding a new clover charm necklace inspired by designer Patricia Field’s work on the movie “Sex and the City 2.”