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Brown Shoe Appoints New CFO

Zacks Equity Research

Footwear retailer and wholesaler Brown Shoe Company, Inc (BWS) recently announced the appointment of Russ Hammer as the new Chief Financial Officer of the organization, effective June 11, 2012, following the resignation of the existing CFO and Senior Vice President Mark Hood.

The reason for Hood’s resignation remains unknown, but during the transition period Mark Hood will support Russ Hammer in his new responsibilities to ensure a smooth handover.

Russ Hammer boasts an experience of more than 30 years in finance. Prior to joining Brown Shoe, Russ Hammer served as the CFO of online travel agency Orbitz Worldwide, Inc (OWW). Prior to that, he was the CFO of shoemaker Crocs Inc. (CROX), where he played a key role in turning around the company’s fortunes. He has also served in various positions at his first company Motorola Inc. He is 54 years of age and holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Finance and a Master of Business Administration degree.

The company remains upbeat with the appointment of the new CFO, as it expects to grow its business under the leadership of Russ Hammer. Management believes that Russ Hammer will add further value to its portfolio realignment efforts.

In the recent first quarter 2012, the company topped the Zacks Consensus Estimate after missing the same in three consecutive quarters. The St. Louis, Missouri-based company posted an adjusted earnings of 23 cents per share, breezing past the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 9 cents and the year-ago quarter earnings of 16 cents per share.

Net sales also rose 1.1% year over year to $626.4 million, thanks to the portfolio realignment efforts in blend with good weather condition and favorable year-over-year comp comparison.

Brown Shoe also raised its outlook for 2012. The company expects adjusted earnings in the range of 83 to 95 cents per share, up from its previous expectations of 78 to 92 cents per share. The sales guidance has also been lifted up from $2.55 - $2.58 billion to $2.57 - $2.59 billion.

Brown Shoe currently operates 1,066 Famous Footwear stores and 227 Specialty Retail stores.

Brown Shoe, which competes with Nike Inc. (NKE), currently retains a Zacks #2 Rank, which translates into a short-term Buy rating. We are maintaining our long-term Neutral recommendation on the stock.

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