Brown Shoe Company, Inc. announced April retail sales for its Famous Footwear and Naturalizer Retail divisions. The company also announced that it is comfortable with the current First Call consensus earnings per share estimate of $0.47, as compared to $0.43 for the year-ago period.

Retail sales at Famous Footwear, the company’s chain of 913 family footwear stores, were $91,900,000 for the four-week period ended May 3, 2003, up 8.5 percent compared to $84,700,000 for the same period last year (ended May 4, 2002). Same-store sales increased 4.1 percent for the month, partially due to the Easter calendar shift from March into April.

For the first quarter of 2003, Famous Footwear sales were $261,100,000, a 2.4 percent decrease compared to the 13-week period last year. Same-store sales for the quarter were down 5.4 percent.

“Famous Footwear saw increases in gross margin dollars and purchase conversion rates for both the month and quarter,” said Brown Shoe Chairman and CEO Ron Fromm. “Our same-store sales, however, were lower than planned as erratic weather trends and concerns about the economy continued to affect consumer traffic and spending. In terms of major category performance over the quarter, our women’s business, driven by slides, clogs and junior-styled sandals, continued to post substantial increases. Athletics, which gradually improved over the quarter to a positive position in April, were down slightly for the three months versus last year.”

Retail sales at Brown Shoe’s domestic Naturalizer retail division, a 214-store chain selling the Naturalizer brand of women’s footwear, were $10,900,000 in April on a store-base of 22 percent fewer stores, compared to $12,900,000 for the year-ago period. Same-store sales declined 1.3 percent for April, as the colder weather in April depressed sales of opened-up footwear, a key part of the spring Naturalizer collection.

For the first quarter of 2003, Naturalizer Retail sales were $28,800,000 versus $35,600,000 for the year-ago quarter. Same-store sales for the quarter were down 2.5 percent.

                   FY 2003    FY 2002      %       %        Stores Open
                  (5/03/03)  (5/04/02)  Change  Change  5/03/03 vs. 5/04/02
    April. -Famous
     Footwear      $  91.9    $  84.7     8.5     4.1     913         917
    1st Qtr-Famous
     Footwear        261.1      267.6    (2.4)   (5.4)

    April. -
     Naturalizer      10.9       12.9   (15.5)   (1.3)    214         274
    1st Qtr-
     Naturalizer      28.8       35.6   (19.1)   (2.5)

    Store Openings for the Month
    -- Famous Footwear opened new stores in the following markets:
       Citrus Heights, CA; Grainger, IN and Kennett Square, PA.