Under the guidance of company president Jacques Lavertue, Merrell boosted the sales of Wolverine World Wide Inc., to record levels — $720.1 million, up 2.7 percent from $701.3 reported in 2000. In fact, for 2001, Merrell’s sales alone increased 35 percent to $137 million, making it Wolverine’s fastest growing brand among a list of brands that include: Bates, Hush Puppies, Hyest, and Wolverine. SNEWS® View: There is little doubt that much of Merrell’s success continues to be realized with the company’s Mocs and Slides which almost single-handedly launched the comfy, after-sport, slip-on category of sport footwear. Now, Salomon, Nike, Timberland and others market their own versions of the shoes. That category of shoe also opened up Merrell sales and appeal to a much wider audience — the female buyer. Lavertue was quoted in a recent Detroit Free Press article as saying that women and children accounted for only 28 percent of the company’s sales in 1997. In 2002, the company expects that the share will have shifted to 45 percent of the sales to women, 10 percent to children.