Merrell, Patagonia Footwear 2Q sales slip, but revenue up for parent Wolverine on acquisitions

Performance footwear sales at Wolverine Worldwide, including those of Merrell, Patagonia Footwear and Cushe fell 4.8 percent as a group in 2Q.
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Performance footwear sales at Wolverine Worldwide (NYSE: WWW), which include Merrell, Chaco, Patagonia Footwear and Cushe, fell 4.8 percent as a group in the second quarter 2013, the company reported Tuesday.

Good thing for Wolverine it acquired and added Saucony to the category to help beef up the results. With Saucony included, Wolverine’s performance footwear rose 33.8 percent, from a year ago, to $199.7 million. Company officials also noted that the Chaco brand, by itself, produced a double-digit percentage sales increase for the quarter.

The acquisitions, including lifestyle brands Keds and Sperry Top-Sider, boosted Wolverine’s overall second-quarter revenue up 88 percent to a record $587.8 million. Had the acquisitions been included for comparison a year ago (pro forma), the company’s total sales still gained, albeit at a more modest pace of 5.5 percent, officials said. Sperry Top-Sider, Keds, Saucony, and Harley-Davidson Footwear sales led the revenue growth in the quarter.

Wolverine’s quarterly profit slipped to $18.1 million versus $20.3 million a year ago, partly on acquisition charges, but company officials were upbeat, raising 2013 profit guidance, while keeping full-year revenue projections in the range of $2.7 to $2.775 billion, which would represent pro forma growth of between 6 and 8.9 percent, versus 2012.

Second-quarter (April-June) outdoor and performance footwear sales are expected to be shaky for some brands as late winter weather pummeled incoming spring/summer styles and consumers pulled back from barefoot and minimalist trends. As reported earlier in SNEWS, Wolverine officials had predicted a sluggish start to the year for its performance lines.

According to Leisure Trends Group, footwear sales at outdoor retail fell 12 percent in April 2013, including a 65 percent drop in minimalist multi-sport shoe sales and a 22 percent drop in minimalist trail running shoe sales. Footwear sales did rebound nicely in the final month of the quarter (May) as summer temperatures warmed up, bringing the year-to-date performance of footwear sales back to positive figures — albeit barely — increasing less than a percent.

--David Clucas

Correction: A previous version of this incorrectly stated the second-quarter results for the Chaco brand. While second-quarter sales of Wolverine's Performance Group, of which Chaco is part of, did decline as a group, the Chaco brand by itself reported higher second-quarter sales.

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