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Shoe Carnival Preps for Accelerated Expansion


As the family shoe chain Shoe Carnival gets ready to grow to 400 total doors this fiscal year and 450 locations in FY24, it is seeing its merchandise mix shift back to a nearly 50:50 split between athletic and non-athletic categories. In Shoe Carnival’s recently completed first quarter, the retailer realized an approximate 30 percent sales increase in women’s non-athletic styles versus the comparable 2019 period driven by dress and sport; a mid-20s increase in men’s non-athletic and a low 30s percent improvement in kids’ non-athletic.

“Versus 2021, the non-athletic categories continue to outperform the athletic categories and that has brought us back to our 50:50 breakdown of athletic versus non-athletic,” Carl Scibetta, SVP and Chief Merchandising Officer told analysts last week. 

Shoe Carnival’s first quarter sales hit $317.5 million, down 3.3 percent from tough comparisons a year ago when federal stimulus drove revenues, and comparable store sales dipped 10.6 percent. But versus Q1/19, the retailer’s comparable store sales were 16.8 percent higher as it realized a 680-basis point increase in merchandise margin that was partially offset by a 90-basis point increase in buying, distribution, and occupancy costs. 

Besides expansion, Shoe Carnival remains focused on modernizing its existing doors with a design format that “create(s) distinct brand experiences” and “presents customers shop in shop destinations.” More than half of the chain’s existing stores will refreshed by Summer 2023 with all stores due for the new look by the end of FY24. Over the last 12 months. Shoe Carnival has increased its loyalty member base by more than 10 percent to 29+ million.

Meanwhile, new acquisition Shoe Station, a chain purchased in Dec. 2021, has a growth footprint in place that includes launching customer relationship management (CRM) and dotcom platforms before the holiday shopping season and a doubling of sales and store count over the next two to three fiscal years.