Shoe Carnival profit beats estimates

Strong demand for boots and athletic footwear helped Shoe Carnival Inc. report a quarterly profit on Thursday that beat analyst expectations.

In its fiscal fourth quarter ended Jan. 30, the Evansville-based shoe and apparel retailer said profit rose to $2.6 million, or 20 cents per share, from a loss of $3 million, or 24 cents per share, in the same period the previous year.

Fourth quarter revenue grew 8.8 percent, to $170.8 million.

Analysts had expected the company to earn 12 cents a share on revenue of $171.4 million.

“The momentum we realized in the second half of fiscal 2009 has continued into the beginning of the first quarter of fiscal 2010, and we are very optimistic about our spring selling season,” Shoe Carnival CEO Mark Lemond said in a written statement.

The company expects first quarter earnings of 54 cents to 58 cents a share on revenue of $181 million to $183 million.

During fiscal 2009, Shoe Carnival opened 16 stores and closed nine. It expects to open 10 to 15 stores in fiscal 2010 and close 10 to 13.

Overall, the company operates 311 stores in the Midwest, South and Southeast.

Shoe Carnival shares were trading at $23.30 each this morning, up 6.5 percent from their opening price.

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