Shoe Carnival Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203407380/composite SCVL -3.93% shares soared 19.3% in early Wednesday trading after the retailer reported a fourth-quarter earnings beat and same-store sales growth of 4.7%, blowing past the 3.8% FactSet consensus. "As expected, women's boots were the key driver of this increase," said Clifton Sifford, chief executive of Shoe Carnival, on the earnings call, according to a FactSet transcript. "The strong demand in boots produced a 90 basis-point improvement in merchandise margin for the category, while driving year-end per-door inventories down double digits versus last year." Sifford also credited the company's marketing work with McCann Detroit for the results. Wedbush analysts think momentum in athletic shoes and the retailer's effort to right-size its store fleet will work in its favor. There were 14 store closures in fiscal 2018, down from expectations of 35, according to Sifford. Wedbush rates Shoe Carnival stock outperform with a 12-month price target of $47. Shoe Carnival shares have gained nearly 9% in 2019, and more than 43% over the past year. In comparison, the S&P 500 index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -1.05% is up 7.7% for the last 12 months.