Rocky Back in the Black

Rocky Brands Inc. logged its first profitable first quarter in three years.
 
For the period ended March 31, 2011, Rocky earned a net income of $542,000, or 7 cents a share, reversing its loss of $561,000, or 10 cents, in the same period a year ago. The gains came thanks to improvements in both the wholesale and retail segments.
 
The Nelsonville, Ohio-based firm’s bottom line benefitted even as total revenues slipped 7 percent to $52.3 million from reduced military sales, due in part to gross-margin improvement of 340 basis points.
 
Wholesale revenue increased 5 percent to $39.8 million, primarily driven by growth in company-owned work and hunting brands. 
 
Meanwhile, sales for the military segment plunged to $800,000 from $5.2 million. And retail sales fell 10 percent to $11.7 million as a result of the ongoing transition to more Internet-driven transactions and the removal of some mobile stores to help lower costs. 
 
“Consumer demand for our new product lines has been very positive and helped to partially offset the expected sales decline in our military segment,” Chairman and CEO Mike Brooks said in a statement.
 
“The combination of higher margin sales, our improved operating platform and significantly lower interest expense … will continue to fuel improved year-over-year earnings during the remaining quarters of 2011,” he added.
 
The firm ended the quarter with $2.2 million in cash and cash equivalents, and reduced its long-term debt to $27.3 million.