Shoe Carnival, Inc. ( SCVL Quick Quote SCVL - Free Report) posted second-quarter fiscal 2021 results with the bottom line beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate and increasing year over year. Continued broad-based demand for products coupled with a more normalized start to the back-to-school season, better macroeconomic factors in the United States and the easing of pandemic restrictions drove the top line in the quarter. Robust momentum continued in the first three weeks of August with comparable store sales rising 23% and product margins improving roughly 11 percentage points from the August 2019 figures. Q2 Details Shoe Carnival delivered earnings per share of $1.54 (adjusted for the two-for-one stock split effected Jul 20, 2021), surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 55 cents and increasing from 35 cents in the year-ago quarter. Net sales totaled $332.2 million, up 10.5% from the year-ago quarter’s figure. Comparable store sales increased 11.4% year over year. We note that Shoe Perks customer loyalty program membership grew more than 10% year over year with total membership reaching 28 million. Gross profit margin improved significantly to 40.9% from 27.5% reported in the year-earlier quarter. Merchandise margins jumped 13.3 percentage points on solid consumer demand, reducing promotional activity year over year. SG&A expenses increased $7.8 million during the reported quarter to $76 million. As a rate of net sales, SG&A expenses grew 0.2 percentage points to 22.9%. Other Financials Shoe Carnival ended the quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $146.5 million and a long-term portion of operating lease liabilities of $185.6 million. Merchandise inventories were $308.1 million. Management informed that the company had no outstanding debt as of Jul 31, 2021. During the reported quarter, management repurchased 117,068 shares worth $4 million. As of Jul 31, 2021, it had $46 million available for buybacks under its share repurchase program. Store Updates During the second quarter, Shoe Carnival opened one store. In the first half of fiscal 2021, it inaugurated one store while shuttered six. For the rest of the fiscal year, management intends to close three additional stores. We note that Shoe Carnival is on track with the process of modernizing its stores and expects to upgrade roughly 100 stores by the spring of 2022. It has a target of modernizing two-thirds of its store fleet over the coming three-five years. Outlook Based on the company’s performance to date and an anticipated strength in its gross profit margin, management now projects net sales in the bracket of $307-$315 million and earnings per share in the band of $1.10-$1.15 for the fiscal third quarter. For fiscal 2021, management envisions net sales in the range of $1.21-$1.23 billion and earnings per share of $4.35-$4.50. Price Performance In the past three months, the stock has gained 9% against the industry's decline of 4.6%. Stocks to Consider Abercrombie ( ANF Quick Quote ANF - Free Report) has a long-term earnings growth rate of 18% and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), currently. You can see . the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here Gap ( GPS Quick Quote GPS - Free Report) , presently a Zacks #1 Ranked stock, has a long-term earnings growth rate of 12%. Hibbett ( HIBB Quick Quote HIBB - Free Report) has a long-term earnings growth rate of 17.7% and a Zacks Rank of 1 at present.