Wolverine Worldwide Reports Mixed Q4 Finish

Shares for Wolverine World Wide Inc. are in the red today, dipping more than 8 percent to $36.51 as of 10:30 a.m. ET after posting fourth-quarter earnings that fell slightly below analysts’ expectations. It also issued full-year guidance that missed consensus bets.

The Rockford, Mich.-based company — parent to Merrell, Sperry and Keds — reported revenues that increased 0.2 percent to $579.6 million during the period, compared with Wall Street’s estimate of $581.91 million.

On an adjusted basis, earnings per share climbed 27 percent to 52 cents, versus 41 cents in the prior year and besting forecasts of 49 cents per diluted share.

“This was the highest quarterly revenue growth of the year driven by our two largest brands Merrell and Sperry,” said chairman, CEO and president Blake Krueger, referring to the former’s solid sales run and the latter’s continued recovery.

For the full year, Wolverine’s sales decreased 4.7 percent to $2.24 billion in 2018. Adjusted diluted earnings per share improved 32 percent to $2.17, compared with $1.64 in the prior year.

“We saw solid underlying revenue growth across our portfolio including several of our largest brands,” senior VP and CFO Mike Stornant said. “We also deployed our capital during 2018 in an efficient manner by returning $204 million to shareholders in the form of share repurchases and dividends, reducing debt by $212 million, and making $60 million of discretionary contributions to bring our defined benefit pension plans to essentially fully funded status.”

During the year, the footwear manufacturer also invested $50 million in growth initiatives, with plans to up its strategic acquisitions and repurchase up to $400 million of common shares.

Looking ahead, Wolverine now expects revenues between $2.20 to $2.33 billion, compared with Wall Street’s expectation of $2.33 billion. It also sees earnings per share for the full year at $2.20 to $2.35, versus a previous outlook at the higher end of the range.

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