What happened?

Shares of Shoe Carnival (SCVL 2.13%), a leading retailer of moderately priced footwear and accessories, rocketed nearly 24% Wednesday morning after releasing strong fourth-quarter fiscal 2018 results.

So what

Net sales in the fourth quarter reached $234.7 million, down slightly from the prior year's $243.2 million. But there's more to those figures than meets the eye: The fourth quarter of 2018 had 13 weeks in the result, compared with the prior year's 14 weeks. The net effect of the extra week was approximately $15.2 million, making the 2018 fourth-quarter result better than it appears. Comparable-store sales checked in with a 4.7% increase, blowing past analysts' estimates of a 3.8% gain. Adjusted EPS of $0.11 easily topping analysts' estimates of $0.06.

Three women walking in boots

Image source: Getty Images.

In a press release, CEO Cliff Sifford said:

We are pleased to report record net sales and earnings results above our expectations for the fiscal year. Our comparable store sales increases were broad-based, driven by positive results for both our athletic and non-athletic footwear. We believe our customer-centric strategic initiatives, trend-right selection of compelling brands and the latest fashion along with our exciting in-store environment continue to make Shoe Carnival the store of choice for moderately priced family footwear.

Check out the latest earnings call transcript for Shoe Carnival.

Now what

The keys to Shoe Carnival's strong fourth quarter were none other than women's boots. In fact, the robust demand in boots increased merchandise margin in the category by 90 basis points, and drove better-than-expected comps. The company seems well positioned to benefit from women's boots as well as momentum in athletic footwear. Management expects fiscal 2019 sales in the range of $1.035 billion to $1.04 billion and EPS between $2.60 and $2.70.