Outdoor financials: Wolverine Q4 profit falls on weak sales, plus LaCrosse

Wolverine's fourth-quarter profit fell 31 percent, due to restructuring charges and weak sales, while LaCrosse Footwear said its board of directors approved a special cash dividend.

Wolverine Q4 profit falls on weak sales

Weak demand and restructuring charges rattled Wolverine World Wide’s (NYSE: WWW) fourth-quarter profit, which fell 31 percent. Wolverine is parent of Merrell and Chaco, among others.

The company has cut jobs and consolidated distribution and global operations functions and made other moves in a cost-cutting program.

For the quarter ended Jan. 2, the company’s earnings fell to $16.7 million, or $0.33 per share, from $24.1 million, or $0.49 per share, a year ago. Excluding restructuring and other charges, it would have earned $0.45 per share.

Revenue fell close to 10 percent to $312.5 million from $346.1 million a year ago.

“Bright spots in the quarter included our retail division, both our brick-and-mortar and e-commerce businesses, and our Merrell business,” said Blake Krueger, Wolverine’s chairman and CEO, in a statement. “We believe the geographic, brand and distribution channel diversity of our business structure provides a competitive advantage in any economic climate.

“We seamlessly integrated the Cushe and Chaco brands following their early 2009 acquisitions, and both brands exceeded our expectations for the year,” he added.

For the full year, earnings dropped 35 percent to $61.9 million, or $1.24 per share, from $95.8 million, or $1.90 per share. Revenue fell 10 percent to $1.1 billion from $1.22 billion last year.

Gross margin for the full year was 39.7 percent after adjusting for non-recurring restructuring and related charges included in cost of sales, compared to prior-year gross margin of 39.8 percent. Operating expenses decreased 10.4 percent from the prior year, to $309.3 million.

The company also reduced its year-end inventory, which was down $38.7 million, or 19.7%, compared to the prior year. Accounts receivable at year-end were down 2.5 percent compared to the prior year.

The company said for fiscal 2010 it expects earnings of $1.88 to $1.96 per share, excluding one-time costs, on revenue of $1.14 billion to $1.47 billion.

LaCrosse’s board approves dividends

LaCrosse Footwear (Nasdaq: BOOT) said its board of directors approved a special cash dividend of $1 per share of common stock. In addition, a quarterly cash dividend of $0.125 per share of common stock has also been approved.

Together totaling $7.1 million, or $1.125 per share of common stock, the company said the dividends will be paid on March 18 to shareholders of record as of Feb. 22.

–Compiled by Wendy Geister

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