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Outdoor financials: Wolverine Q1 profit up on higher outdoor sales, plus Gander Mountain, Jarden, Crocs

Outdoor financials: Wolverine Q1 profit up on higher outdoor sales. Gander Mountain posts 62-percent drop in Q4 profit. Jarden provides Q1 update. Crocs lowers Q1 forecast, stock sinks 41 percent.

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Wolverine Q1 profit up on higher outdoor sales

Wolverine World Wide (NYSE: WWW), parent of Merrell and licensee of Patagonia Footwear, said its first-quarter profit increased 6 percent, aided by global distribution efforts and higher sales from its outdoor shoe division and international businesses.

For the period ended March 22, earnings increased to $23.7 million, or $0.46 per share, compared with $22.3 million, or $0.39 per share, in the prior year. Quarterly revenue grew 3 percent to $288.2 million from $281.1 million. Wolverine said this marks the 23rd consecutive quarter of record revenue and earnings per share for the company

CEO and President Blake Krueger said in a statement, “During the quarter, revenue growth was strongest in the Outdoor Group and our international businesses. In particular, our royalty-based global licensing and distribution businesses had a very strong quarter. The Outdoor Group remained the company’s leading profit contributor during the quarter, led by the Merrell businesses in the U.S. and Europe.”

The company’s order backlog rose more than 10 percent, and inventories were down 4 percent.

The company also raised its full-year earnings forecast, crediting its strong first-quarter results and improved backlog. It increased its profit outlook to a range of $1.83 to $1.90 per share from $1.80 to $1.88 per share. It maintained its revenue outlook in a range of $1.23 billion to $1.26 billion.

Gander Mountain posts 62-percent drop in Q4 profit

Gander Mountain (NYSE: GMTN) said its fourth-quarter profit plummeted 62 percent as expenses rose and sales fell amid “difficult operating conditions.”

For the three months ended Feb. 2, net income dropped to $5.8 million, or $0.25 per share, from $15.3 million, or $0.85 per share. The company used a higher number of shares outstanding to calculate per-share earnings in the most recently completed quarter.

Sales fell to $317.6 million from $326.9 million. Same-store sales fell 11.9 percent in the fourth-quarter.

The company’s expenses and charges rose to $73.4 million from $61.6 million during the quarter as a result of closing two unprofitable stores.

Additionally, its earnings included a loss of $1.2 million stemming from two months of seasonal losses at Overton’s Inc., a catalog and Internet retailer of marine recreational products, which it acquired in December.

CEO Mark Baker said in a statement, “As anticipated, fourth-quarter results reflected difficult operating conditions, both in the broad economy and in our industry.”

For the 12 months ended Feb. 2, Gander Mountain lost $31.8 million, or $1.52 per share, compared with a loss in the previous fiscal year of $13.2 million, or $0.88 per share.

Selling, general and administrative expenses for the fiscal year 2007 increased 16 percent to $241 million, driven by new store growth and operational expenses related to its $70 million purchase of Overton.

The company said it plans to open five stores during the year, replacing three smaller stores and adding to its southern store count, which it hopes will help improve results in fiscal 2008.

Jarden provides Q1 update

In an update on its pending financial results for the first quarter, Jarden Corp. (NYSE: JAH) said quarterly revenue grew 47 percent to $1.2 billion, compared with $820.9 million in the year-ago quarter.

The company said its outdoor solutions segment — which includes brands such as Coleman, Campingaz, K2 Sports, Volkl, Marker, Tubbs, Atlas, Marmot and ExOfficio — was the strongest performer. Other business segments declined from the prior-year period amid a difficult environment. It acquired K2 Inc. in August.

“While we continue to see significant macro economic challenges, we believe our performance in this environment reflects the strength of our leading brands and the defensible nature of our core categories. As budgeted, our Outdoor Solutions segment showed organic growth during the quarter while our other business segments showed a year-over-year decline,” Martin E. Franklin, chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

Jarden will release its first-quarter results on May 8.

Crocs lowers Q1 forecast, stock sinks 41 percent

Hit by weaker-than-expected domestic sales and costs related to a plant closure, Crocs (Nasdaq: CROX) lowered its first-quarter forecast. Its stock price fell 41 percent in early trading April 15, a day after Crocs issued its revised guidance.

Crocs expects results ranging from a loss of $0.05 to break-even, sharply lower than its previous guidance of $0.46 per share. Excluding a one-time, pre-tax charge of about $16 million related to closing its Canadian manufacturing operations, it predicts net income of $0.08 to $0.13. The company is closing its Quebec City, Canada, facility and eliminating 600 jobs.

It also cut its first-quarter revenue estimate to $195 million to $200 million, from its previous guidance of $225 million.

The revised forecast will translate into an increase of 37 percent to 41 percent in revenue over the previous first quarter, with domestic sales up 13 percent, European sales rising about 90 percent and Asian sales 75 percent higher, the company said.

For the fiscal second quarter, Crocs expects diluted earnings per share between $0.42 and $0.47, or $0.45 to $0.50, excluding a 3-cent charge for closing the Canadian plant.

For fiscal 2008, Crocs expects a profit of $1.54 to $1.64 per share, or $1.70 to $1.80 excluding one-time charges.

“Retailers in general are planning more cautiously,” CEO Ron Snyder said in a statement, adding that Crocs did not have the level of business it originally expected. “In addition, because of our current expense structure, a shortfall in sales versus our expectations disproportionately impacts our earnings results.”

The company is reducing discretionary spending and the use of airfreight and delaying unnecessary infrastructure spending.

“In light of the current marketplace, we believe it is prudent to adopt a more conservative outlook for the year and this is reflected in our updated guidance,” Snyder said in a statement.

Crocs also authorized a share buyback program of 5 million shares, effective on or about May 7.

The company released the announcement after the market closed on April 14, where it ended the day’s trading at $17.79 with a trading volume of 5.8 million. On April 15, it shed $7.68 to close at $10.11 on a trading volume of 53.7 million. Its 52-week range is $10.10 to $75.21.

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