Brown Shoe Q1 affected by exiting brands

ST. LOUIS — Brown Shoe Company Inc. reported a net loss and declining net sales in first quarter 2013 as the company cited the impact of having exited some businesses in the past year.

The retailer experienced a net loss of $10.8 million, compared to net earnings of $1.7 million a year earlier. Net sales declined about 1% to $588.7 million from $598.2 million.

However, Brown Shoe said that taking $10.4 million in net sales from exited brands during the first quarter of last year into account, net sales actually slightly improved this year.

“We saw improved consumer conversion related to our strategic real estate, inventory and omni-channel efforts,” said Diane Sullivan, president and CEO of Brown Shoe Company. “At wholesale, we refined our portfolio, with the recent sale of Avia and Nevados, and we intend to use the related proceeds in our 2013 debt reduction efforts.”