Wolverine World Wide, Inc. today reported record revenue and earnings for its fourth quarter and 2004 fiscal year, marking its fourth consecutive year of record results.
The Company achieved record revenue totaling $991.9 million for its 2004 fiscal year ended on January 1, 2005, an 11.6 percent increase over 2003 revenue of $888.9 million. For the fourth quarter of 2004, the Company reported revenue of $307.4 million, an 8.7 percent increase over fourth quarter 2003 revenue of $282.8 million. Earnings per share, on a pre-split basis, for fiscal 2004 grew to $1.64, a 29.1 percent increase over the $1.27 per share reported in 2003. Fourth quarter 2004 earnings per share increased to $0.52, a 13.0 percent increase over fourth quarter 2003 earnings per share of $0.46.
Adjusting for the Company's 3-for-2 stock split which becomes effective today, post-split earnings per share for fiscal 2004 and the fourth quarter were $1.09 and $0.34 respectively.
“Wolverine World Wide had an exceptional 2004 as evidenced by the Company's strong financial performance,” stated Timothy J. O'Donovan, the Company's President and CEO. “All of our operating groups experienced double- digit profit improvements during the year with the Merrell business leading the way as it achieved strong double-digit sales gains and was the top earnings producer for the business.
“Our success in 2004 went well beyond our financial results. From Merrell Continuum to Wolverine MultiShox, we enhanced the market positions of our brands with some of the freshest and most innovative products in the industry. Sebago was successfully integrated into the business with a complete retooling of its product offerings and brand marketing. Globally, we've never been stronger, as illustrated by the gains in market share for the Hush Puppies, Merrell and CAT footwear brands. The Company's European initiatives gained further traction with strong double-digit revenue gains as we continued to capitalize on the service advantages of our European infrastructure.
“I am also pleased to announce actions taken in the first quarter of 2005 that will continue to expand our reach in Canada and Europe. In Canada, we transitioned the Wolverine Boots and Shoes and CAT Footwear businesses from a distributor model to an owned-wholesale business. We now directly wholesale all of our major brands in Canada and are one of the largest footwear marketers in this important region. In Europe, we acquired the Merrell distributor businesses in both Sweden and Finland, consistent with our planned strategy of expanding our owned-wholesale operations in the pan-European market. These acquisitions, while relatively limited in scope, leverage existing international resources and provide a foundation for future growth.”
“For fiscal 2004, all branded operating groups showed significant sales growth and the financial strength of the business has never been better,” reported the Company's CFO, Stephen L. Gulis Jr. “We generated a record level of cash from operating activities, approximately $105 million, and our key financial ratios and metrics improved during the year. This financial performance culminated with our recent announcement of a 3-for-2 stock split and 50 percent dividend increase.”
O'Donovan concluded, “Our 2004 year-end backlog is up more than 13 percent over prior year-end levels. This solid backlog position is a testament to the strength of the product initiatives across all of our brands and the retailer and consumer excitement surrounding our Spring/Summer product offerings. Looking ahead to 2005, we are one step closer to realizing our vision of becoming the world's premier non-athletic footwear company as we anticipate crossing the $ 1.0 billion mark in revenue for the first time in the Company's history.
“We are increasing our previously stated 2005 estimates of revenue by $5.0 million to a range of $1.040 to $1.060 billion and are increasing pre-split earnings per share by $.02 per share to a range of $1.79 to $1.86. These estimates are in line with our previously stated long-term financial objectives of growing revenue in the mid to upper single-digit range and generating double-digit earnings per share growth. On a post-split basis, 2005 earnings per share estimates range from $1.19 to $1.24. These estimates do not include the effect of accounting changes which require the expensing of stock options and do not reflect any impact from the potential repatriation of foreign earnings under the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004.”
The Company will host a conference call at 10:00 a.m. EST today to discuss these results and current business trends. To listen to the call at the Company's website, go to http://www.wolverineworldwide.com, click on “For Our Investors” in the navigation bar, click on “Conference Call” from the top navigation bar of the “For Our Investors” page, and then click on “Webcast.” To listen to the webcast, your computer must have Windows Media Player, which can be downloaded for free at http://www.wolverineworldwide.com. In addition, the conference call can be heard at http://www.streetevents.com. A replay of the call will be available at the Company's website through February 16, 2005.
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), HYTEST(R), Merrell(R), Sebago(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 140 countries. For additional information, please visit our website, http://www.wolverineworldwide.com.