Qtr., Year Slip for Wolverine

Wolverine World Wide Inc.’s year-long restructuring efforts took a toll on the firm’s fourth-quarter and full-year earnings results.

For the three months ended Jan. 2, the company earned $16.7 million, or 33 cents, versus a profit of $24.1 million, or 49 cents, a year ago. Adjusted for the restructuring activities, Wolverine said it would have earned 45 cents in the latest quarter.

Quarterly revenues slipped to $312.5 million from $346.1 million the previous year.

Analysts were expecting earnings per share of 45 cents in the recent quarter on revenues of $318.5 million.

In the full year, the company earned $61.9 million, or $1.24, compared with $95.8 million, or $1.90 the prior year. Adjusting for restructuring actions, the company said earnings would have been $1.77 a share.

Full-year revenues fell 10 percent to $1.1 billion, on par with analyst estimates for $1.11 billion. Excluding foreign exchange impacts, the company said revenues would have been $1.14 billion, a 7 percent decline.

“We are extremely pleased with our performance in 2009, particularly considering the challenging economic environment that existed all year,” said Blake Krueger, chairman and CEO, in a written statement. “Bright spots in the quarter included our retail division, both our brick-and-mortar and e-commerce businesses, and our Merrell business. We believe the geographic, brand and distribution channel diversity of our business structure provides a competitive advantage in any economic climate.”

Krueger added that the company’s acquisitions last year of the Cushe and Chaco brands were “seemlessly integrated” and that both brands “exceeded our expectations for the year.”

Looking to fiscal 2010, Wolverine forecast revenue growth of 3.5 percent to 6.3 percent to $1.14 billion to $1.17 billion. Wall Street is expecting revenues of $1.15 billion.

Earnings per share are expected at $1.88 to $1.96, adjusted for restructuring charges, versus Wall Street expectations for $1.98.

Shares of the company were trading down about 5 percent in morning trading at around $25.79.

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