April 8, 2009, 12:00 AM

Shoes.com reports a 5.5% decline in sales for fiscal 2008

Shoes.com, the e-commerce segment of Brown Shoe Co., reported web sales for fiscal 2008 were down 5.5% to $74.2 million. Total sales for Brown Shoe and same-store sales for the specialty retail segment each declined 3.4%.

Shoes.com, the e-commerce segment of footwear manufacturer and retailer Brown Shoe Co. Inc., reported sales for fiscal 2008 were down 5.5% to $74.2 million from $78.6 million in the prior year. Total sales for the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, 2009, were $2.28 billion, down about 3.4% from $2.36 billion in fiscal 2007 for Brown Shoe.

Although Brown Shoe did not report overall same-store sales for the full year, same-store sales for the specialty retail segment declined 3.4% for 2008. Specialty retail segment net sales fell 4.1%, to $252.5 million in 2008, compared with $263.2 million last year, according to the company’s 10K report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The specialty retail segment is composed of Naturalizer shoe stores and Shoes.com, which is No. 149 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

Shoes.com made up about 29.4% of specialty segment sales in 2008 and 29.9% in 2007. Shoes.com sales accounted for about 3.3% of Brown Shoe’s total sales in both fiscal 2008 and 2007. Net loss for fiscal 2008 for Brown Shoe was $133.2 million vs. net income of $60.4 million in fiscal 2007.

For the fourth quarter of 2008, sales for Shoes.com were down about 5.1%, although the company didn`t break out a specific sales number. The company’s specialty retail segment reported net sales in the quarter of $66.0 million, a 5.9% decrease from $70.1 million in the prior year period. Same-store sales in the segment declined 0.3% in Q4 2008. The segment’s operating loss during the quarter was $19.7 million compared to a loss of $1.5 million in Q4 2007. The specialty retail division opened five stores and closed four, resulting in 287 stores open in North America at the end of the quarter, compared with 279 at the end of Q4 2007.

Brown Shoe’s overall net sales for Q4 2008 were $521.0 million, down 8.8% from $571.4 million in Q4 2007. Net loss for Q4 2008 was $153 million compared with net income of $14 million in the prior year quarter.

Pete Hogan, vice president of e-commerce at Brown Shoe is speaking at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition, June 15-18 in Boston, in a session titled Browser confusion: How to win the battle for web performance.

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