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Shoe Carnival Sales Higher Than Expected at Reopened Stores

Shoe Carnival began re-opening its stores in May, and a first read on sales has topped the footwear chain’s expectations.

On June 22, Shoe Carnival reported a year-over-year same-store sales increase of 28.1 percent, including a 4 percent boost in brick-and-mortar comparable sales for the fiscal quarter to date.

“As we have slowly re-emerged with heightened safety procedures, we have welcomed back our customers to stores, and as a result, fiscal second quarter-to-date sales have exceeded our expectations,” Shoe Carnival vice chairman and CEO Cliff Sifford said in a statement Monday. “While there are still many unknowns, we are encouraged by these more than positive sales trends and remain committed to meeting our customers’ footwear needs and positioning Shoe Carnival as a leader in the family footwear segment.”

After growing 160 percent in the first quarter, sales from Shoe Carnival’s digital channel are up nearly 470 percent over the comparable period last year, the company said.

All but one of the chain’s 390 stores are now open in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, which could curtail the skyrocketing e-commerce sales trajectory if consumers return to shopping in stores reduce their reliance on online shopping. A shift back to in-store shopping may end up helping the company’s ailing margins, however, which are expected to remain under pressure in the second quarter as a result of the higher shipping and fulfillment expenses incurred with digital orders.

Overall, brick-and-mortar sales have been higher than many have expected, supporting Wells Fargo economist Tim Quinlan’s position that retail may see a spike in sales as a result of pent-up demand and coronavirus stimulus payments. In either case, this growth could eventually be threatened by ongoing high unemployment rates, which reached 13.3 percent in early June.

Shoe Carnival closed its stores on April 2, in line with many other retailers as the coronavirus pandemic began to spread across the country and began reopening where local case counts and regulations permitted.

At the time, the retailer said it would provide each store with personal protective equipment (PPE), intensify daily cleaning procedures and reinforce social distancing with prominently displayed signage in order to protect both employees and consumers.

“The first half of fiscal 2020 ushered in an unprecedented operating landscape for our business,” Sifford said. “We pivoted quickly to protect the health and safety of our employees and customers, which has supported the successful, gradual re-opening of our stores since late-April.”