Outdoor financials: Crocs Q1 net income up nearly fourfold, plus Rocky Brands, Liz Claiborne, Cabela's, LaCrosse, Big 5, Wellman - SNEWS

Outdoor financials: Crocs Q1 net income up nearly fourfold, plus Rocky Brands, Liz Claiborne, Cabela's, LaCrosse, Big 5, Wellman

Crocs Q1 net income up nearly fourfold, Rocky Q1 profit drops 14 percent, Prana-parent Liz Claiborne's net income drops 65 percent in Q1, Cabela's Q1 profit down, LaCrosse Footwear Q1 profit rises 54 percent, Big 5 Q1 earnings rise 28 percent, and Wellman increases polyester staple fiber price.
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Crocs Q1 net income up nearly fourfold
First-quarter net income for Crocs (Nasdaq: CROX) nearly quadrupled, fueled by strong domestic and international sales.

Net income attributable to common shareholders rose to $24.9 million, or $0.61 per share, from $6.4 million, or $0.17 per share during the same period a year ago. Revenue tripled to $142 million, from $44.8 million a year ago.

Analysts expected net income of $0.49 on revenue of $113.9 million.

The company said domestically, sales of its new spring/summer collection and licensed and Jibbitz business helped results. Internationally, classic models are selling well.

It raised its fiscal 2007 earnings guidance, saying it anticipates yearly earnings of $2.90 to $2.95 per share on sales of $670 million to $680 million. Previously, the company expected revenue and earnings to grow 45 percent, implying full-year earnings per share of $2.33 per share and sales of $514.3 million. Also, it predicts second-quarter profit of 80 cents to 85 cents per share on revenue of $180 million to $190 million.

Separately, Crocs declared a 2-for-1 stock split as a stock dividend. Shareholders of record May 31 will get an additional share for each they hold on June 14.

Rocky Q1 profit drops 14 percent

Rocky Brands' (Nasdaq: RCKY) first-quarter net income fell 14 percent on lower Western footwear sales and a reduction in the company's inventory. Rocky Brands makes footwear and apparel under brands including Rocky Outdoor Gear, Georgia Boot, Durango and others.

Quarterly profit fell to $765,905, or $0.14 per share, from $893,230, or $0.16 per share during the year-ago quarter.

Revenue grew 7 percent to $61.7 million, from $57.5 million last year, helped by growth in the company's work and outdoor products, offset by lower sales of Western products.

The quarter's gross margin was $26.1 million, which included about $700,000 of a reimbursement of expenses from the military, or 42.3 percent of sales, compared to $24.9 million or 43.3 percent of sales, for the same period last year.

Selling, general and administrative expenses were $22.3 million, or 36.2 percent of sales, for the first quarter compared to $21.1 million, or 36.7 percent of sales, a year ago.

Income from operations was $3.8 million, or 6.1 percent of net sales, for the period compared to $3.8 million, or 6.6 percent of net sales, in the prior year. Inventory decreased 14 percent to $71.8 million, from $83 million a year ago.

"As we expected, gross margins declined as a result of a shift in our product mix combined with our strategic decision to reduce a portion of our inventory at closeout," said Mike Brooks, chief executive.

"As we expected, gross margins declined as a result of a shift in our product mix combined with our strategic decision to reduce a portion of our inventory at closeout. At the same time, we benefited from a reimbursement of expenses from the U.S. military," said Mike Brooks, Rocky's CEO, in a statement.

It expects new product introductions and investment in research and development will lead to market share gains and it reiterated its 2007 guidance. The company expects net income to increase 35 percent from 2006 earnings of $0.86 per share, implying net income of $1.16 per share. It sees revenue up 5 percent from $263.5 million, implying revenue of $276.7 million.

Prana-parent Liz Claiborne's net income drops 65 percent in Q1

Liz Claiborne (NYSE: LIZ), parent of Prana, said first-quarter earnings tumbled 65 percent, as the nation's department stores cut back on its poorer performing apparel lines.

Net income for the quarter totaled $16.2 million, or $0.16 per share, down from $46.9 million, or $0.45 per share during the same period last year. Adjusted for a restructuring program, earnings were $0.22 per share, compared with the adjusted figure of $0.60 a year ago.

Revenue fell nearly 2 percent to $1.15 billion, from $1.17 billion last year.

The company said it anticipates adjusted earnings in fiscal 2007 of $1.90 to $2.05 per share, excluding 6 cents in expenses in the first-quarter from a restructuring program as well as other potential charges such as divestitures, acquisitions and stock buybacks. The company also expects that net sales to be flat to down in the low single digits, compared with fiscal 2006.

The report, issued before markets closed on May 1, sent shares down $7.72, or 17.3 percent, to close at $37 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Cabela's Q1 profit down
Cabela's (NYSE:CAB) reported a 14.2 percent increase in first-quarter revenue, but a $2 million drop in profit.

Total revenue for the first quarter of 2007 was $462.1 million compared to $404.8 million for the first fiscal quarter of 2006. Net income decreased to $7.1 million, or $0.11 per diluted share, compared to $9.1 million, or $0.14 per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2006.

"As discussed last quarter, we expected our first quarter to be impacted by additional fixed costs, such as increased depreciation, timing differences in recording our incentive compensation expense, incremental pre-opening costs related to our Hazelwood, Missouri store and increased interest expense," said Dennis Highby, Cabela's president and CEO, in a statement. "These costs impacted our first-quarter results as planned, and we remain on track to achieve our long-term top and bottom line mid-teens growth rate targets for fiscal 2007."

The company said it had strong first-quarter revenues in each of its business segments compared to the same period a year ago. Direct revenue increased $9.0 million, or 3.9 percent, to $237.9 million; total retail revenue increased 27.1 percent to $184.8 million, which included a same-store sales decrease of 0.9 percent; and financial services revenue increased 25.2 percent to $35.7 million.

The company said it expects to open eight new stores in 2007, including Hazelwood, Missouri, which opened on April 13. Its other stores planned for opening in 2007 are in Illinois, Connecticut, Louisiana, Indiana, Nevada, Idaho and Washington.

LaCrosse Footwear Q1 profit rises 54 percent

LaCrosse Footwear's (Nasdaq: BOOT) profit grew 54 percent in the first quarter of the year, partially due to increased sales of work and uniform boots. It is the parent of the Danner and LaCrosse brands.

Net income for the quarter was $604,000, or $0.10 per share, up from $392,000, or $0.06 per share. Total product sales grew to $23.7 million in the quarter from $21.4 million in the prior-year period.

Sales to the outdoor market were $8.3 million for the first quarter of 2007, up 7 percent from $7.8 million for the same period of 2006. LaCrosse said year-over-year growth in the outdoor market primarily reflects continued penetration into the hunting and rugged outdoor boot markets. Sales to the work market were $15.4 million for the first quarter of 2007, up 13 percent from $13.6 million for the same period of 2006.

The company's operating expenses grew more than 10 percent from last year due to increased spending on sales representatives, product development and a new distribution center in Portland.

Additionally, its board approved an annual cash dividend of $0.15 per share of common stock. The dividend is payable on June 30, 2007, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on May 31, 2007.

Big 5 Q1 earnings rise 28 percent
Big 5 Sporting Goods (Nasdaq: BGFV) credits higher margins on its winter apparel for a 28-percent increase in its first-quarter profit.

The company said quarterly earnings increased to $7.6 million, or $0.33 per share, from $5.9 million, or $0.26 per share during the same period last year. Revenue grew 5 percent to $217 million from $207.2 million. Quarterly same-store sales rose 1 percent.

Big 5 Chairman and CEO Steven Miller placed much of the company's quarterly gain on wider profit margins, which extended to 36 percent from 35.4 percent a year ago.

"Product margins benefited from strong sales of winter-related products early in the quarter, when margins are highest, compared to last year, when we realized very strong winter product sales late in the quarter," Miller said in a statement.

The company also reaffirmed earnings this year of between $1.47 per share and $1.57 per share, but added that lower-than-anticipated sales beginning in the second half of April and higher administrative expenses would result in a second-quarter profit of between $0.25 per share and $0.33 per share. It still anticipates quarterly same-store sales growth in the low single-digit range.

Separately, the company declared a regular quarterly dividend of $0.09 per share.
It will pay the dividend on June 15 to shareholders of record on June 1.

Wellman increases polyester staple fiber price
Wellman (NYSE:WLM) announced that, effective with June 1, 2007, shipments, it will increase the price of all Fortrel polyester staple fiber products by 4 cents per pound.

Steve Ates, vice president sales and marketing, made the announcement noting, "This price increase is necessary due to continued increases in the cost of our petrochemical-based raw materials and their feedstocks."

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