LaCrosse Logs First-Quarter Loss

LaCrosse Footwear Inc. slipped back into the red in the first quarter of 2011.

For the period ended March 26, the branded boot maker lost $650,000, or 10 cents a share. In contrast, in the same period a year ago, the firm earned a net income of $1.7 million, or 25 cents.

While total revenue for the quarter slipped 26 percent to $25.2 million, from $34.2 million, LaCrosse’s bottom line was also hit by higher selling and administrative expenses, and an increase in its tax rate for the first quarter.

The decrease in net sales reflects a reduction in U.S. military orders, the firm said in a statement, as sales to the work market fell 39 percent to $16.1 million. (The firm also announced Thursday it has received a new $2.4 million order from the U.S. Marine Corps for the Danner Rugged All Terrain Hot boot, to be delivered in the next two weeks.)

While the government channel floundered, sales to the wholesale, direct and international channels increased 14 percent collectively compared with the same period in 2010.

Sales to the outdoor market alone increased 16 percent to $9.1 million, reflecting strong demand for hiking and hunting products.

“Our sales to the outdoor market were particularly robust, as our relationships with major retailers continue to strengthen and we expand into new retail stores,” Joseph Schneider, president and CEO of LaCrosse, said in a statement. “Our newest products have been very well received, and we see strong demand for both our core work and outdoor products.”

Schneider added that the firm is “encouraged by the significant growth in [its] wholesale backlog.”

The firm missed estimates, as analysts were looking for earnings of 17 cents a share on revenue of $35.7 million, as polled by Yahoo Finance.

Due to $16.9 million cash used in operating activities in the first quarter, LaCrosse ended the period with a cash balance of $527,000, compared with $19.7 million a year ago.

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