The company saw net sales grow by 23.4% in the fourth quarter to US$313.4 million, a new fourth-quarter record for the business. Comparable store traffic increased 18%, gross profit margin was 37.3% and net income for the fourth quarter hit a record high of US$20.6 million.

For the full 2021 fiscal year, Shoe Carnival’s net sales grew by US$353.6 million year-on-year to US$1.33 billion, the highest annual net sales in company history.

Comparable store sales increased by 35.3% in fiscal 2021, rebounding from a comparable store sales decline of 5.3% in fiscal 2020, affected by the pandemic. 2021’s gross profit margin was 39.6% against 28.7% in the previous year and net income for the full fiscal year 2021 was a record US$154.9 million.

Shoe Carnival completed a multi-year store productivity improvement program in 2021, with the end result that all ongoing stores generated a positive cash flow. Following this, the company expects few, if any, store closures for the next several years.

In December 2021, Shoe Carnival completed its acquisition of Shoe Station and all of its assets, a Southeast retailer of footwear and accessories.

In 2022, the company expects net sales to increase by 4-7% over the prior year, with operating income forecast to be in the region of US$142-154 million. Shoe Carnival also plans to add more than 10 stores in the 2022 financial year, growing to more than 20 from 2023.

Mark Worden, President and Chief Executive Officer of Shoe Carnival, said: “Our outstanding team members delivered double-digit sales growth and triple-digit EPS growth during every quarter of 2021, resulting in the best year in Shoe Carnival’s 43-year history.

“Our strategic investments, and recent acquisition of a second retail banner, have us positioned very well for continued sales growth in 2022, and for rapid store expansion in the years ahead. We now expect to sustain operating income and EPS levels that are more than double the pre-pandemic record levels set in fiscal 2019.”