Bakers Footwear key sales figure up nearly 10 pct

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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Bakers Footwear Group Inc., which sells women’s shoes, said Thursday that after a key sales figure rose 9.9 percent in December it expects to report much higher fourth-quarter income than a year earlier.

The company said sales at its stores that have been open at least a year rose much higher than in December 2008, when they rose 3.4 percent. It credited gains in boot sales at regular prices and in new fashion trends.

The figure is a key indicator of retailer performance because it measures growth at existing stores and excludes those that open or close during the year.

Its total sales for the five-week period that ended Jan. 2 also rose — 9.5 percent to $30 million.

The company expects its fourth-quarter net income to range from $6 million to $7 million, compared with just $500,000 in the period last year.

Shares rose 86 cents, more than doubling, to $1.60 in midday trading Thursday.