Also please refer to the earnings release for more information on risk factors that could cause actual results to differ. Finally, please note that any forward-looking statements used in today's call cannot be relied upon as current after this date.
I would now like to turn the call over to Ed Rosenfeld, Chairman and CEO of Steve Madden.
Thanks Jean. Good morning, everyone. And thank you for joining us today, as we review our second quarter results and discuss our outlook for the remainder of the year. Second quarter of 2012 was in some respects a more challenging quarter than we have seen in some time.
The overall retail environment soften somewhat during the quarter and fashion footwear in particular was challenged by weakness in the sandal category. Nevertheless, we delivered strong financial results with net sales increasing 38% from the prior year to $288.7 million and net income up 13.1% to 26.9 million or $0.61 per diluted share.
We believe this solid performance in the face of a challenging environment is a testament to the power of our brands, talent of Steve and his design team, and the enduring strength of our business model.
Importantly, we also continue to make progress in each of the four major growth areas we outlined at the beginning of the year: One, new brands; two, direct-to-consumer; three, categories outside footwear; and four, international.
Before I get into the details of our second quarter performance, I’d like to touch briefly on the highlights with regard to each of those growth opportunities.
First growth area is expanding new brands. For spring of this year, we launched Superga, a fashion sneaker brand out of Italy for which we have been licensee for North America. Superga is 101-year old brand with a great heritage and an iconic style, the classic canvas sneaker call the 2750. While Superga is well known throughout Europe, prior to our involvement, it had very little presence in North America.