St. Louis—Though winter storms may have hit its sales, Brown Shoe Co. reported Friday that its fourth quarter profit jumped 53% on lower costs and an improved wholesale business. The footwear company also revealed it purchased the Franco Sarto brand for $65 million.
For the quarter ended Feb. 1, Brown Shoe posted net earnings of $6.16 million, or 14 cents a share, compared with earnings of $4.04 million, or 9 cents a share, a year ago. Excluding items, adjusted earnings were $6.16 million, or 14 cents a share. That beat analysts’ average estimate for 10 cents a share.
Net revenue decreased 3% to $599.96 million, missing analysts’ consensus for $621.15 million in sales. Its comparable store sales were down 1.8%.
Sales apparently were hurt by severe winter weather which hurt its running shoe business but actually helped its boot sales. .
Expanding Sam Edelman Brand
“Unfortunately, a fabulous 2013 ended with one of the snowiest and coldest winters in recent memory, and in total we lost nearly 4% of our potential selling days in the fourth quarter due to weather,” Chairman/CEO Diane Sullivan told analysts on a conference call.
For the full year, Brown Shoe’s net sales increased 1.4% to $2.5 billion. Its full year profit increased to $38.1 million, or 88 cents a share, up from $27.5 million or 64 cents a share, in 2012.
The winter weather especially hurt its Famous Footwear business, which posted a 9% decline.
Meanwhile, wholesale sales rose 14% to $196.3 million. At its Healthy Living division, wholesale sales were up 4% to $107.2 million, led by a double-digit improvement at Naturalizer.
Contemporary Fashion wholesale sales increased 28% to $89.1 million, with double digit increases at Sam Edelman and Franco Sarto.
“In 2014, we’re going to be investing heavily in our Sam Edelman brand, including the expansion of talent, marketing, e-commerce, and branded retail stores,” Sullivan said.
The Franco Sarto brand grew in the low-double digits in 2013. After a license agreement, Brown Shoe bought Franco Sarto last month.
Gross profit margin for the quarter widened to 40.2% from 40.0% in the year-ago period.
Looking ahead, Brown Shoe said it forecast total net sales this year to range between between $2.58 billion and $2.6 billion.