Meanwhile, comparable store sales were down by 6.5%. The company noted that traffic continues to be soft, particularly within lower income households and urban markets.

This was offset by a growth of 5.4% in e-commerce net sales, which were boosted by the February 2023 launch of shoestation.com and increased net sales through shoecarnival.com.

Gross profit margin for the period was down to 35.8% and net income for the quarter totalled US$19.4 million, down by 33% year-on-year.

Shoe Carnival highlighted that it opened its 400th store in August, ending the quarter with 373 Shoe Carnival stores and 27 Shoe Station stores. The company also reported that store productivity and profitability have increased sharply for the fleet since the last time it operated 400 stores in 2018.

President and CEO Mark Worden said: “Our second quarter results demonstrated the momentum of our strategy within the context of a challenging economic backdrop. We delivered improvement on net sales, earnings per share and market share growth versus first quarter 2023, while also increasing investment in our branding, advertising and in-store experience. In August, we opened our 400th store and surpassed over half of our stores being modernised.

“We saw improving conditions related to the impact of inflation in the second quarter, but some of our urban customers remain challenged in the current economic environment. As such, we are taking a measured approach to the balance of the year. Given the strength of our balance sheet and our strategy, we are in a strong position to grow as the economy improves and continue to actively evaluate both organic and acquisition-related opportunities.”