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Outdoor financials: Weak start to winter hurts Salomon, Atomic parent Amer Sports; plus revenue up for Wolverine, Under Armour

Amer Sports sees its revenue, profit down on slow start to winter; Wolverine's revenue up, but profit slips; Under Armour continues to roll.

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The early winter’s warm temperatures and lack of snow in key markets dragged Amer Sports’ (HEL:AMEAS) fourth quarter 2011 earnings.

The Finland-based parent company of Arc’teryx, Atomic and Salomon reported its revenue down 5 percent to EUR 556 million ($726.9 million as of Jan. 31) in the fourth quarter, compared to the same period a year ago. Amer’s net profit slipped to EUR 31.1 million ($40.6 million), versus EUR 38.1 million ($49.7 million) a year ago.

The company’s wintersports and outdoor division led the decline, falling 10 percent to EUR 375 million ($489.5 million), primarily driven by a 19 percent decline in wintersports equipment, while cycling grew 10 percent, footwear rose 8 percent, and apparel increased 4 percent.

Elsewhere within the company, Amer’s fitness division grew 22 percent to EUR $72.9 million ($95.1 million) and its ball sports division rose 2 percent to EUR 109 million ($142.3 million).

Looking ahead, Amer officials projected improvement companywide, but warned of further adverse impacts to its wintersports sales, likely to cross over to 2012 preorders. On the bright side, the company’s 2012 apparel and footwear preorders for spring/summer are up by 28 percent and 14 percent, respectively, officials said.

Merrell parent Wolverine 4Q revenue up, but profit slips

Wolverine World Wide (NYSE:WWW) reported higher fourth-quarter 2011 revenue to finish a record year, but its profit slipped on weaker outdoor segment growth and increased marketing expenses.

The Rockford, Mich.-based parent company to outdoor footwear brands Merrell, Chaco and its namesake Wolverine reported its latest quarterly revenue up 5.6 percent to $406.5 million, compared to $385 million a year ago. Wolverine’s net income came in at $23 million, or 47 cents per diluted share, for the fourth quarter, but that was a decline from a profit of $25 million, or 52 cents per diluted share a year ago. Company officials said the decline was primarily due to increased marketing expenses.

Wolverine’s Outdoor Group grew its revenue 4.5 percent to $134.9 million, which was weaker sales growth than the rest of company — Wolverine’s Heritage Group grew 4.6 percent and its Lifestyle Group grew 13.4 percent. Still, despite the weaker fourth quarter, the Outdoor Group recorded a company-leading 18 percent growth to $551.8 million for the full year 2011, accounting for 39 percent of Wolverine total sales, which came in at $1.41 billion, up 12.8 percent.

Looking ahead, company officials project 2012 revenue to be between $1.485 billion and $1.525 billion, representing growth of 5.4 to 8.2 percent from 2011.

Wolverine also is reported to be shopping for acquisitions in 2012, entering several discussions with undisclosed various brands, according to its CEO Don Grimes, who was quoted at a conference earlier in January.

Under Armour 4Q revenue, profit up

Under Armour (NYSE:UA) reported higher revenue and profit for the fourth quarter 2011, ending the full year with 38 percent growth in revenue, and projecting above 20 percent growth for 2012.

The Baltimore-based athletic apparel, footwear and accessories company increased its fourth-quarter revenue 34 percent to $403 million, compared to $301 million a year ago. Under Armour’s quarterly net income rose 42 percent to $33 million, or 62 cents per diluted share, compared to a profit of $23 million, or 44 cents per diluted share, a year ago.

Under Armour officials said the quarterly growth, compared to a year ago, was led by a 43 percent increase in footwear revenue to $31 million and a 27 percent increase in apparel revenue to $323 million driven by strength in fleece and its Charged Cotton items. Direct-to-consumer sales, which represent 38 percent of the company’s sales, rose 50 percent in the fourth quarter from a year ago.

For the full year 2011, Under Armour’s revenue increased 38 percent to $1.473 billion. Net income rose 41 percent to $96.9 million, or $1.85 per diluted share. Looking ahead, company officials projected a full year 2012 revenue increase between 20 and 25 percent.

Officials added that Under Armour would push ColdBlack apparel technology, similar to that in the outdoor industry, which deters the sun’s heat being absorbed while wearing black-colored garments. The company also plans for a “re-invigorated” push of its base layer products, officials said.

–Compiled by David Clucas