WWW Beats Analyst Estimates in Q1

After posting better-than-expected first-quarter results on Wednesday, Wolverine World Wide Inc. reaffirmed its guidance for the year.

Impairment charges of $14.5 million, related to the firm’s restructuring, hit Wolverine’s net income in the first quarter, which dropped 56 percent to $10.5 million, or 21 cents a diluted share. Adjusted for restructuring costs, the firm reported earnings of 41 cents a share, handily beating analyst estimates on Yahoo Finance for 31 cents.

Revenues for the first quarter were $255.3 million, down 11 percent, from $288.3 million during the same period in 2008.

The Wolverine and Patagonia footwear brands saw earnings increase, while the Hush Puppies Group, parent of Wolverine’s new Cushe acquisition, and the Outdoor Group, which includes Merrell, posted declines.

Wolverine’s restructuring plan, which was put into place in January, included the elimination of 10 percent of its workforce, or 450 jobs, as well as the merging of distribution operations and the closure of a tannery in its hometown of Rockford, Mich. The company expects to save $17 million to $19 million annually, at a cost of $31 to $36 million (before taxes) recorded throughout 2009.

Wolverine projected earnings of $1.74 to $1.97 a share in 2009, adjusted 12 cents to 15 cents for foreign exchange, and 12 cents for increased pension expenses. Wolverine also reaffirmed its reported revenue to be in the range of $1.07 billion to $1.15 billion.

The company’s stock closed up 15.3 percent at $21.79 at the end of trading on Wednesday.

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