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Outdoor financials: Quiksilver Q4 net income jumps, plus Deloitte Research predicts solid holiday season for retail, K2, VF Corp., Gander Mountain, Wolverine, Forzani

Quiksilver's Q4 net income jumped, Deloitte Research predicted a strong holiday sales season, two outdoor companies withdrew from NYSE Arca, Gander received $50 million in equity financing, Wolverine named a new CEO and John Forzani will retire from Forzani's executive team.

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Quiksilver Q4 net income jumps
Quiksilver (NYSE: ZQK), parent of Rossignol, reported that its fourth-quarter profit climbed 95 percent, helped by higher revenue in the United States and Europe.

Net income for the quarter totaled $65.3 million, or $0.51 per share, up from $33.6 million, or $0.27 per share, during the same period last year. Revenue grew 22 percent to $778.4 million from $637.4 million.

Revenue from the Americas grew 14 percent to $330.4 million. European revenue grew 28 percent to $345.8 million. Asia/Pacific revenue grew 30 percent to $100.3 million.

The company said its Quiksilver, Roxy, DC and Rossignol brands performed well during the quarter. Quiksilver bought the French ski maker Rossignol in 2005, and is about to launch a lifestyle-based line of Rossignol apparel.

News of the earnings doubling drove shares of Quiksilver to a 52-week high. It rose $1.39, or 9.6 percent, to $15.95 during midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange, after trading as high as $16.08 earlier in the session. The stock has traded between $11.60 and $15.31 over the past year. It closed on Dec. 15 at $15.75.

Deloitte Research: Increase in wages, low energy prices position market for solid holiday season

The Deloitte Research Leading Index of Consumer Spending rose sharply this month, due to the strongest growth in real hourly earnings in four years.

“This month’s increase in real wages is the largest we’ve seen in some time,” said Carl Steidtmann, chief economist with Deloitte Services LP’s Deloitte Research and author of the monthly index, in a statement. “The labor market remains strong, energy prices continue to come down, and housing prices have stabilized and even increased. All of these factors suggest a solid holiday season, as well as a much improved outlook as we enter 2007.”

Deloitte said the index, comprising four components — tax burden, initial unemployment claims, real wages and real home prices — rose sharply to 3.61 percent, from a revised gain of 3.08 percent a month ago.

“After a strong Black Friday and Thanksgiving weekend, consumers still have much shopping left to do,” added Pat Conroy, a vice chairman of Deloitte & Touche USA and national managing principal of its Consumer Business industry practice, in a statement. “According to our recent survey, only 6 percent of consumers had completed all of their holiday shopping at the end of November. In fact, one-third (33 percent) of consumers have not yet begun holiday shopping, and almost 4 in 10 (37 percent) still have 10 or more gifts to buy. The most successful retailers will continue to focus on converting shoppers into buyers through excellent customer service, in-stock merchandise and streamlined store navigation.”

Deloitte’s Consumer Business practice previously reported that it expects holiday sales, excluding autos and gasoline, to increase 7 percent during the November-to-January period. That is less than last year’s 7.8 percent increase, but still above the past decade’s average growth rate, it said.

To check out Deloitte’s 21st Annual Holiday Survey, click here.

Outdoor companies withdraw from NYSE Arca
Both K2 Inc. (NYSE: KTO) and VF Corp. (NYSE: VFC) announced that they are voluntarily withdrawing their securities from listing on NYSE Arca, formerly the Pacific Exchange. Both will continue to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Many companies have done the same thing since the recent merger of NYSE Group with Archipelago Holdings, the parent company of NYSE Arca. The move helps eliminate the duplicate administrative requirements inherent in the dual listings.

In separate statements, both companies said that withdrawing their listings would not have an adverse effect on the liquidity of their stock. NYSE Arca will continue trading both K2 and VF securities on an unlisted trading privilege basis.

Gander receives $50 million equity financing, names new chairman
David Pratt, founder of United Industries, has entered into an agreement with Gander Mountain Company (Nasdaq: GMTN) to purchase 5,701,255 newly issued shares of its common stock at a price of $8.77 per share for a total purchase price of $50 million. Additionally, Pratt has also been elected chairman of Gander Mountain’s board, and he will take the board of directors position once the transaction is complete.

The company also announced that it intends to open more than a dozen new stores in fiscal 2007 and upgrade a number of existing stores.

The shares were purchased through a private placement by a family entity managed and controlled by Pratt. The $50 million purchase price in the equity financing will be paid with approximately $30 million in cash and the surrender and cancellation of the company’s $20 million note originally issued to a Pratt family trust.

Ronald Erickson was elected vice chairman, also effective upon funding of the transaction. Erickson, one of the founders of the company, has been chairman since 1997.

Wolverine names Krueger CEO, O’Donovan to remain chairman
Wolverine World Wide (NYSE: WWW), parent of Merrell, has named President and Chief Operating Officer Blake Krueger as CEO, effective in April.

Current CEO Timothy O’Donovan will remain chairman. In a statement, he said he will work with Krueger on developing and identifying growth opportunities.

Krueger has been a director of the company since July. Prior to that, he worked as president of Heritage Brands Group, a Wolverine unit, where he helped boost financial performance of the Caterpillar footwear business.

In other company news: O’Donovan sold 40,000 shares of common stock on two separate days at $28.75 to $29.17 apiece, according to several SEC filings. Insiders file Form 4s with the SEC to report transactions in their companies’ shares. Open market purchases and sales must be reported within two business days of the transaction.

John Forzani to retire from Forzani’s executive team

The Forzani Group Ltd. (TSX: FGL), Canada’s largest retailer of sporting goods, reported that company founder John Forzani will retire from his position as full-time executive chairman after the end of the current fiscal year. He will remain on the board of directors in the role of chairman. Forzani’s departure from the senior management team will be effective January 29, 2007, and comes after more than three decades of service to the company.

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