Weyco Q1 Down

The unseasonably cold winter in the U.S. hurt Weyco Group Inc.’s earnings in the first quarter.

The Milwaukee, Wis.-based firm posted diluted earnings per share for the quarter of 29 cents, compared with 30 cents in the year-ago period.

Sales for the quarter rose 2 percent to $74.9 million, from $73.6 million a year earlier.

“The extension of severe weather in the U.S. impacted overall business in the first quarter,” Weyco Chairman and CEO Thomas Florsheim Jr. said on a conference call with investors and analysts, adding that the company is well positioned for growth ahead of fall.

The back-to-school selling season presents an additional opportunity, particularly in boys’ casual footwear, Florsheim said on the call.

“While first-quarter sales of our Bogs winter boots benefited from the long harsh winter in the U.S. and Canada, we believe the weather slowed the overall retail environment and challenged our retail and wholesale shoe businesses,” Florsheim said.

The executive added, “We are very pleased that despite these challenges, our Nunn Bush and Florsheim brands posted gains for the quarter. We are also encouraged by the improvement in our Australian operations, where we saw strong gains in both its retail and wholesale businesses.”

Weyco shares were down 0.1 percent, or 2 cents, at $25.03 in afternoon trading today.