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Strong Shoe Carnival profit beats estimates

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Strong sales of toning footwear helped Shoe Carnival Inc. post record earnings in its fiscal second quarter, the Evansville-based shoe and apparel retailer said Wednesday.

For the three months ended July 31, Shoe Carnival earned $4.1 million, or 32 cents per share, compared to $982,000, or 8 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.

The company's latest quarterly earnings included a gain of 4 cents per share from a favorable outcome on a state tax issue.

Analysts were expecting earnings of 27 cents per share for the second quarter.

Revenue increased 8.2 percent, to $165.4 million. Comparable store sales also jumped 8 percent.

Toning shoes, oddly shaped footwear with an unstable sole that throws off your balance—thereby helping you burn calories, improve posture and firm up the buttocks, thighs and calves—are flying off stores shelves nationwide, giving a boost to retailers like Shoe Carnival and Indianapolis-based The Finish Line Inc. As IBJ reported in its Aug. 23 issue, six of the 10 top-selling shoes in a recent survey fell in that category.

“While toning footwear was a key driver of our sales for the quarter, our non-athletic footwear, particularly sandals and other types of casual footwear for the family were also significant drivers of our sales increase,” Shoe Carnival President and CEO Mark Lemond said.

Shoe Carnival said it expects to earn 63 cents a share to 66 cents a share on revenue of $196 million to $202 million in the fiscal third quarter.

The chain of 313 stores in the Midwest, South and Southeast said it should open 10 new stores and close seven locations in the current fiscal year.

Company shares rose 57 cents on Wednesday, to close at $18.81 each. The stock has traded in a 52-week range of $12.79 to $29.26 per share.

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