Wolverine World Wide, Inc. (NYSE: WWW) today reported record revenue and earnings for the second quarter of 2003, with earnings per share rising 9.5 percent.
Second quarter revenue rose 8.7 percent to $184.0 million compared to $169.3 million reported for the second quarter of 2002. Earnings per share improved to $0.23 per share compared to $0.21 per share reported for the same quarter last year.
For the first half of 2003, revenue and earnings per share reached record levels of $375.5 million and $0.41 per share respectively. These results represent an 8.4 percent and 13.9 percent improvement from the $346.6 million in revenue and $0.36 earnings per share reported for the first half of 2002.
''All of our major branded groups generated profit improvements,'' stated Timothy J. O'Donovan, Wolverine's President and CEO, ''with our international businesses producing solid double-digit revenue gains in the quarter. Merrell remains the top performing brand in our portfolio, experiencing its 22nd consecutive quarter of growth.
''Our marketing investments are paying off. Merrell's expanding shop-in- shop program with key retailers is producing strong sell-through. CAT Footwear's lifestyle marketing initiative is driving business through youth- oriented retailers around the world. The Hush Puppies' repositioning plan is successfully opening new doors with better-grade retailers and Wolverine's increased focus on accelerating growth in the outdoor sport boot category is working.''
''We were pleased with our 9.5 percent gain in earnings per share,'' stated Stephen L. Gulis Jr., the Company's CFO. ''Higher divisional operating earnings coupled with our debt reductions and share repurchase programs more than offset the $0.03 per share increase in pension expense recorded in the second quarter. Gross margins declined 70 basis points for the quarter to 35.7 percent due to a higher percentage of military and slipper shipments, which are lower margin businesses. Adding to the margin decline were costs incurred to consolidate our Mexican manufacturing operation into our Dominican Republic facilities. Year to date, margins are up 20 basis points and are on plan to achieve our projected annualized increase.
''We continue to reap the benefits of our asset management programs, which resulted in minimal revolving debt and over $40.0 million in cash as we exited the second quarter. This performance was driven in part by a 5.3 percent year-over-year reduction in inventories and improved cash collections. Accounts receivable balances at the end of the second quarter increased 3.8 percent, significantly less than our revenue improvement.''
O'Donovan concluded, ''Looking ahead, we are entering the second half of 2003 with a 5.4 percent increase in order backlog. We believe many retailers have yet to complete their order bookings for third and fourth quarter delivery. Additionally, we experienced an increase in at-once business late in the second quarter, and anticipate this trend to continue. For fiscal 2003, we continue to anticipate revenue and earnings reaching $875 to $885 million and $1.21 to $1.24 per share respectively.''
With a commitment to service and product excellence, Wolverine World Wide, Inc. is one of the world's leading marketers of branded casual, active lifestyle, work, outdoor sport and uniform footwear and slippers. The Company's portfolio of highly recognized brands includes: Bates(R), Hush Puppies(R), Merrell(R) and Wolverine(R). The Company also markets footwear under popular licensed brands including CAT(R), Harley-Davidson(R) and Stanley(R). The Company's products are carried by leading retailers in the U.S. and are distributed internationally in over 130 countries. For additional information, please visit our website, www.wolverineworldwide.com .