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ST. LOUIS-Mall-based footwear and accessories retailer Baker Footwear will open 33 to 34 stores and remodel aproximately 15 others this year despite a weak second quarter that saw profits to slide by $1 million. The St. Louis firm said weaker than expected sandal sales during the key spring and summer season caused the company to discount prices to reduce inventory, creating a $1 million, or 16 cents per share, loss in the quarter ended July 29.

Gross profits for the period was $13.5 million, or 28.6% of net sales, compared to $15 million, or 33.1% of net sales during the second quarter of fiscal 2005. The decline was a sharp drop from the more than $1 million in profit earned during the same period last year.

The women’s shoe company, which currently operates 247 stores in 38 states under the Bakers and Wild Pair names, said revenue increased by 4.3% during the quarter, rising to $47.18 million from $45.25 million compared to last year. Peter Edison, chairman and chief executive officer, said the increase in revenue was driven by the opening of 33 new stores last year.

Edison said the firm plans to have more than 70% of its stores operating in its new format by next year. Although revenue increased during the quarter, sales at stores open at least one year were down by 6.4% for the three-month period.

In the second quarter of 2005, comparable store sales increased 12.7%. Despite what company officials called “a disappointing quarter,” Edison said he was optimistic about the fall season, noting that several new fashion trends, including the growing popularity of platforms, round toe pumps and peep toe shoes, as well as a variety of boot styles, are expected to boost performance.

“We remain confident that our initiatives in merchandising and marketing, combined with our new store expansion have us poised for long-term sales and earnings growth,” said Edison. He added that strong internet and catalogue sales, which grew to $1.6 million, a 136% increase, helped offset some of the declines.

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