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Brown Shoe posts strong Q1; embarks on major rebranding, new name


St. Louis -- Brown Shoe Co., which will soon change its name to Caleres, reported a strong first quarter, with net earnings rising 24.8% to $19.3 million amid better-than-expected same-store sales and strong margins.

Net revenue rose 1.9% to $602.3 million from $591 million in the year ago period. Same-store sales rose 3.1%.

Gross margin of 41.3% was up approximately 30 basis points year-over-year, while operating margin of 5.0% was up approximately 10 basis points.

“First quarter exceeded our expectations virtually across the board – including sales, margin and earnings — despite a late start to spring and caution around potential west coast port delays,” Diane Sullivan, CEO, president and chairman stated. “We’re pleased with our first quarter results, which were achieved thanks to strong sales from our Brand Portfolio and exceptional gross margin and operating margin gains at Famous Footwear combined with better than expected same-store-sales.”

The company reported its robust quarter just a day before it embarks on a rebranding campaign that will see it change its name to Caleres, which is derived from the Latin word “calere,” meaning passionate, to glow, according to Brown. The change is effective May 28. A new logo will combine the Caleres moniker with the “Star-Five-Star” mark, which Brown has used since 1885.

“Our new brand identity reminds us of the legacy we must preserve as we build for another century of progress,” Sullivan said in a release when the new identity was announced. “Part of that identity is our name and mark, and these two elements demonstrate the passion behind our 137-year-old success story and help set the benchmark for the continued importance of fit to our future.”

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