The $2.6 million, or 21 cents per share, in net income fell far short of the 30 cents anticipated by analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.
CEO Mark Lemond said customers are buying shoes to meet needs, but spending less discretionary income. Same-store inventories have been reduced 8 percent to cut costs.
Still, the company, which has 311 stores in the Midwest, South and Southeast, said it plans to open 24 stores and close a dozen others in the fiscal year.
Shoe Carnival shares increased 6 cents this morning, to $9.08 each. The stock is trading at levels last seen in 2001 after peaking at $30.19 in February 2007.
The most recent fiscal quarter ended Nov. 1.