REPORT Steve Madden announcing its financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2015 said that its net sales increased 6.3 percent to 323.9 million dollars compared to 304.6 million dollars in the same period of 2014. Gross margin was 34.4 percent compared to 35.6 percent in the same period last year.
Operating income totaled 29.8 million dollars, or 9.2 percent of net sales, compared with operating income of 36 million dollars, or 11.8 percent of net sales, in the same period of 2014. Net income was 19.8 million dollars, or 0.32 dollars per diluted share, compared to 23.6 million dollars, or 0.36 dollars per diluted share, in the prior year's first quarter.
Commenting on the results, Edward Rosenfeld, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said, “We saw a number of new fashion footwear trends begin to emerge, which contributed to double digit comparable store sales growth in our retail business. While sales in our wholesale footwear business excluding acquisitions were down, we saw a meaningful improvement in sell-through at our retail partners compared to the prior year. In addition, our wholesale accessories business recorded a strong sales increase, driven by growth in Betsey Johnson, Madden Girl and private label handbags.”
Retail net sales in the first quarter were 46.9 million dollars compared to 39.6 million dollars in the first quarter of the prior year. Same store sales increased 11.6 percent and retail gross margin decreased to 55.1 percent compared to 55.7 percent in the first quarter of 2014 as a result of increased promotional activity in the outlet stores. During the quarter, the company opened one full price store and closed three full price stores. The Company ended the quarter with 158 company-operated retail locations, including 118 full price stores, 32 outlets, four internet stores and four joint venture locations in South Africa.
For fiscal year 2015, the company continues to expect that net sales will increase 7 percent to 9 percent over net sales in 2014. Diluted EPS for fiscal year 2015 is expected to be in the range of 1.85 dollars to 1.95 dollars.