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Outdoor financials: Former Reebok exec invests in Newton Running, plus Vail earnings, Lululemon sales

Former Reebok exec Paul Fireman invests big money in Newton Running. Vail earnings up on increased ticket and pass sales. Plus, Lululemon's sales boost its revenue and profit.

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Investors are now taking notice of the minimalist surge in footwear. The former CEO of Reebok International has invested between $10 million $20 million in Boulder, Colo.-based Newton Running Co.

Paul Fireman, now head of Boston-based investment firm Fireman Capital Partners, made the announcement June 10, saying he planned to help Newton “introduce the authentic running shoe to a broader marketplace.”

It’s the first foray back into the footwear industry for Fireman since selling Reebok to Adidas for $3.6 billion in 2006.

“Newton Running is the footwear partner we’ve been seeking for quite some time,” said Dan Fireman in a statement. He is Fireman Capital Partners’ founding partner and Paul Fireman’s son. “It’s a brand that is disruptive in the marketplace, authentic and driven by technology. We took Reebok from a fledgling UK running shoe brand and built it into a multi-billion dollar global business. Our expertise in design, development, sales and marketing will help bring Newton Running to the next level and beyond.”

Dennis Baldwin and Steve Liggett, both formerly of Reebok, will represent Fireman Capital Partners on the Newton Running ‘s board of directors.

Newton Running’s patented technology is designed to allow runners to run as if they were barefoot, landing on their midfoot/forefoot instead of landing on their heels.

Vail earnings rise on ski pass sales

Vail Resorts Inc. (NYSE:MTN) reported higher revenue and profit for its fiscal 2011 third quarter on higher pricing and sales of its lift tickets and passes.

The Broomfield, Colo.-based ski resort company, which owns Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Heavenly and Northstar-at-Tahoe, reported its fiscal third quarter revenue, ended April 30, 2011, up 18 percent to $414.5 million, compared to the same period a year ago.

The growth was driven primarily by Vail’s mountain segment rising 16 percent to $351.4 million during the quarter, fueled by additional revenue from the recent acquisition of Northstar-at-Tahoe resort. Excluding the extra revenue, quarterly revenue rose 6 percent, officials said.

Within the mountain segment, lift revenue rose 17 percent for the quarter due to a 15 percent, or $17.3 million, rise, in paid lift revenue and a 21 percent, or $10.3 million, increase in season pass revenue. Excluding Northstar-at-Tahoe, lift revenue rose 7 percent.

Total skier visitation during the quarter was up 11.4 percent, but fairly flat excluding the Northstar-at-Tahoe addition, due to the late Easter holiday, officials said.

Vail’s fiscal third quarter 2011 net income rose 5.6 percent to $76.9 million, or $2.01 per diluted share, compared to 76.4 million, or $1.98 per diluted share a year ago.

The company also declared its first-ever quarterly cash dividend of $0.15 per share of common stock.

Lululemon earnings rise on strong sales

Lululemon Athletica Inc. (Nasdaq:LULU) reported a higher revenue and profit for its fiscal 2011 first quarter on strong sales from its stores and new e-commerce push.

The Vancouver, Canada-based yoga and lifestyle apparel company said its revenue rose 35 percent to $186.8 million for its fiscal first quarter, ended May 1, 2011, compared to the same period a year ago.

Lululemon’s comparable store sales rose 16 percent on a constant dollar basis. Direct-to-consumer revenue increased 51 percent to $13.8 million.

“We were able to generate strong sales and earnings growth while also focusing on a successful transition of our e-commerce platform in-house,” Lululemon CEO Christine Day said in statement with the earnings release. “While cautious about the macro-environment, we remain confident that our business momentum will continue through fiscal 2011.”

Lululemon’s net income rose to $33.4 million, or $0.46 per diluted share, for the quarter, compared to a net income of $19.6 million, or $0.27 per diluted share during the same period a year ago.

Looking ahead to Lululemon’s fiscal second quarter, company officials expect revenue to be in the range of $200 million to $205 million based on a comparable-store sales percentage increase in the mid-to-upper teens on a constant-dollar basis. Diluted earnings per share are expected to be in the range of $0.42 to $0.44 for the quarter.

For the full fiscal 2011, company officials project a revenue range between $915 million and $930 million with a diluted earnings per share range between $2.10 and $2.16.

Compiled by David Clucas

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