May 27, 2009
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Brown Shoe posts narrower-than-expected Q1 loss

May 27, 2009

May 27 (Reuters) - Footwear retailer Brown Shoe Co Inc (BWS.N) posted a narrower-than-expected quarterly loss for the first quarter as it managed its expenses better, and it forecast positive net earnings for the full year.

Naturalizer 2009

For the first quarter ended May 2, the company posted a net loss of $7.6 million, or 18 cents a share, compared with a profit of $7.2 million, or 17 cents a share, a year earlier.

Net sales fell 2.8 percent to $538.7 million.

Excluding charges, it lost 14 cents a share.

Analysts on average were expecting company to post a loss of 27 cents a share on revenue of $537.5 million, according to Reuters Estimates.

"While sentiment in the industry may have improved some since last quarter, visibility remains difficult, so we will continue to manage our business with discipline, focusing on expense, capital, and balance sheet management," Chief Executive Ron Fromm said in a statement.

The company forecast a narrower net loss in the second quarter than in the first. For the full year it said it expects to generate positive net earnings and net sales in the range of $2.2 billion to $2.3 billion.

Analysts expect the company to post a loss of 34 cents for the full year on revenue of $2.21 bln, according to Reuters Estimates.

The seller of shoe brands such as Naturalizer, LifeStride and Via Spiga said it plans net closings of around 30 stores a year in 2010 and 2011.

It plans to open 55 Famous Footwear stores in 2009 while closing 55 to 70 stores. The company had said in March it planned to shut 35 stores this year.

Selling and administrative expenses rose by $1.6 million from a year ago to $212.8 million, while debt was reduced by $32.7 million from the end of fiscal 2008.

Shares of the St. Louis-based company closed at $7.03 on Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Poojya Trivedi in Bangalore; Editing by Mike Miller)

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