Profits Pressured for Rocky in Q1

Leaner retail inventory levels and lower-than-expected orders took a toll on profits at Rocky Brands Inc. during the first quarter.

The Nelsonville, Ohio-based company reported a net loss of $1.1 million, or 20 cents a diluted share, for the quarter ended March 31, compared with a $300,000 profit, or 5 cents, in the year-ago period.

Revenue dropped 17 percent to $50.1 million for the quarter, from $60.5 million in the first quarter of 2008.

The results came in below the consensus of analysts polled by Yahoo Finance, who estimated revenues of $54.1 million, and a loss of just 11 cents a share.

Rocky’s wholesale revenues decreased by 9 percent to $36 million, while retail sales rang in at just $13.7 million, a 28 percent drop that the company attributed to an ongoing focus on Internet sales, among other things.

Mike Brooks, Rocky’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement that the company had expected its sales to remain pressured due to the “challenging economic environment, combined with the tough comparisons we were up against in our retail division during the first quarter.”

He added, “We are focused on improving the profitability of our retail segment by transitioning a greater percentage of those transactions to the Internet, and we are pleased by our initial progress.”

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