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OLUMBUS, OH-Big-box shoe retailer DSW Inc.’s new stores that it is opening this year are 20% smaller than the average of 25,400 sf in its 209-unit portfolio. The smaller stores are turning out to be more productive than their larger counterparts, executives said during their second-quarter conference call.

For example, the average DSW store brings in $5.3 million annually and posts sales per-sf of $217. The newer units, at around 19,500 sf, bring in an average of $232 per-sf. One unit that opened in Marina Del Ray, CA, last month that is not quite 15,000 sf is projected to bring in $5.6 million at $384 per-sf.

“This store and other like it have caused us to rethink the selling floor, presentation, staffing and product flow,” says Peter Horvath, DSW’s president. “All of these changes point to greater efficiency.”

Management plans to open a total of 32 new stores this year, 12 of which are already open, with the remainder under construction. During the second quarter, which ended July 29, the chain opened three units and has 21 more than it did at the same time a year ago.

DSW posted a 2.2% same-store sales increase during the quarter compared to the same year-ago period. Net sales increased to $301.3 million, up from $276.2 million, while net income rose to $15.3 million from $9.3 million.

Women’s dress and casual shoes were the best-performing category during the second quarter, while the men’s selection lagged. Management is currently rebalancing the assortment and says it sees a pick up so far this quarter. But that department is starting to pick up, says Deborah Ferree, vice chairman and chief operating officer, with average ticket price rising from $52 to $55 after new assortments were introduced.

For the full year, management predicts a 3% to 5% same-store sales jump and earnings per share between $1.24 and $1.27.

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