Payless ShoeSource Inc. said net income fell more than 18 percent during the fourth quarter, but the news was welcomed on Wall Street, where analysts had been expecting a bigger decline.
The company also said it expected to maintain its earnings per share growth target of 15 percent and that it would open about 120 Payless stores this year.
The Topeka-based family footwear retailer said net income fell to $14.2 million, or 42 cents per diluted share, from $17.4 million, or 46 cents per diluted share a year ago. Analysts had been expecting earnings per share of 37 cents.
Sales at stores that were open at least a year fell 3.5 percent, while total fourth-quarter sales were off 0.2 percent to $586.4 million.
For the year, net income rose to $135 million, or $3.78 per diluted share, from $128.9 million, or $3.31 per diluted share. Sales increased to $2.61 billion from $2.56 billion.
"Although our same-store sales were below expectations for the fourth quarter and the year overall, by improving merchandise margins and reducing expenses below planned levels, Payless was able to deliver an earnings gain," said Steven Douglass, chairman and chief executive officer.
Payless shares rose 1/4 to close at 56 7/8 on the New York Stock Exchange.