The quarter seemed like a mixed bag for the shoe specialist. Its Famous Footwear retail stores posted a solid 3.6% increase in same-store sales, and the rest of the retail division remained strong. But the wholesale segment showed signs of trouble, with sales dropping a significant 12.6%. Management is trying to get things back on track here and has shifted to a new focus of selling more branded shoes, rather than providing department stores with private-label footwear.
Despite a drop in consumer confidence from pressures facing the economy, Brown Shoe feels pretty confident about the rest of the year. It raised its earnings guidance to $1.58-$1.63 per share, up from $1.55-$1.59. The new forecast includes $0.25 in costs related to its "Shareholder Enhancement Plan," which is being implemented to reduce costs by restructuring, eliminating operational redundancies, and redesigning logistics and distribution. The original price tag on the plan was a $0.31 charge per share. However, somewhere along the line, operations aren't going to perform as well as previously expected, since the $0.06 reduction in costs led to only a $0.03 increase in guidance.
The company focuses on adjusted earnings, excluding costs relating to its Shareholder Enhancement Plan. This quarter, the plan racked up $0.08 per share in charges. So adding that back, adjusted earnings were $0.30, 11% higher than the previous year's adjusted profits.
With all of the one-time charges this company has experienced over the past year, you need a scorecard to keep track of how earnings need to be adjusted. But ultimately, the steps management has taken so far with the new plan should help streamline operations and cut costs going forward. I think if it can leverage its well-known brands, it might be able to turn its struggling wholesale segment around.
The company does expect the remainder of the year to be challenging. Is it up to this challenge? Apparently management thinks so, with the boost in guidance. But looking at its outlook for adjusted earnings, and the force behind the new guidance numbers, I don't think so. At least not yet. Investors may have gotten ahead of themselves on this one based on the higher guidance figures. But don't overlook the fact that the rise in guidance was based on lower-than-expected charges, not on performance.
Sure, the industry as a whole is experiencing the negative effects of the soft market, and competitors such as Collective Brands
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Fool contributor Lawrence Rothman is happy to receive feedback, and promises to read it when not being wrestled by his three children. Feel free to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He doesn't have any positions in the companies mentioned. The Fool has a glass slipper of a disclosure policy.