May 21, 2008, 12:00 AM

First quarter web sales drop by 7% at Brown Shoe

Web sales for Brown Shoe, which owns and operates Shoes.com, cooled in the first quarter. In Q1 e-commerce revenue decreased by 6.8% to about $16.4 million.

Mark Brohan

Research Director

Web sales for Brown Shoe Co., which owns and operates Shoes.com Inc., cooled in the first quarter.

In Q1 web sales for Brown Shoe decreased by 6.8% to about $16.4 million from $17.6 million in the first quarter of 2007. Retail sales also declined for Famous Footwear and Brown Shoe’s specialty retail unit, which includes Naturalizer stores and e-commerce. In the first quarter sales for Famous Footwear declined by 1.9% to $318.8 million from $325.3 million in the prior year. Operating earnings decreased by 63.8% to $7.6 million from $21 million in the prior year.

In its specialty retailing business unit, Brown Shoe reported sales of $58 million, a drop of 3.8% from $60.3 million in Q1 of 2007. The division’s operating loss widened to $4.7 million from $3 million in the prior year. Overall Brown Shoe, No. 149 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, posted net earnings of $7.1 million on total revenue of $554.5 million, compared with net earnings of $9.6 million on total sales of $566.3 million in the first quarter of 2007.

The web accounted for about 3% of total sales in the first quarter. “The environment for consumer spending proved more challenging than we expected, resulting in lower than anticipated first quarter sales and profitability for Brown Shoe,” says CEO Ron Fromm.

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