Wolverine Beats the Street

Wolverine World Wide Inc. delivered first-quarter earnings that were better than analyst predictions. Still, soft sales in its lifestyle division and weather woes impacted the firm.

The Rockford, Mich.-based company reported net income of $37.1 million, or 36 cents a diluted share. Adjusted earnings per share were 38 cents, down from 41 cents in the same period last year, but well above the Wall Street forecast of 30 cents a share.

For the quarter ended March 22, revenues were $627.7 million, a decrease of 2.8 percent from the year-ago period. Analysts had predicted revenue of $625.4 million.

“The diversity of our brand portfolio and our global reach is reflected in our solid performance this quarter, with the Asia-Pacific and EMEA regions posting double-digit growth,” Wolverine Chairman, President and CEO Blake Krueger said on a conference call with investors and analysts.

“However, we have not been immune to the general U.S. retail malaise, which has also impacted the U.S. footwear market,” he added.

Of the current quarter, Krueger said, “Encouragingly, we have seen a significant uptick in business over the last several weeks, as spring has finally arrived and consumers are beginning to shop and react positively to our new spring and summer product offerings.”

Looking ahead, for Wolverine’s Sperry Top-Sider brand, Krueger said, “We expect second-quarter revenues to be down in the mid-single-digit range, compared with [the] 34 percent increase last year, and expect overall 2014 revenues to be down in the mid-single- to upper single-digit range.”

The company reaffirmed its full-year forecast for $2.78 billion to $2.85 billion in sales, representing 3 percent to 6 percent growth over 2013. The company also affirmed its prior adjusted earnings forecast of $1.57 to $1.63 a share.

Wolverine shares were 1.8 percent lower, or 52 cents, at $27.86 in afternoon trading on Wednesday.

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