Outdoor financials: Outdoor brands make Wolverine's 3Q a winner, plus Rocky, West Marine

Outdoor brands make Wolverine's 3Q a winner; Rocky stands behind 3Q expectations; West Marine lowers 3Q earnings estimate

Outdoor brands make Wolverine's 3Q a winner
With a strong showing by outdoor brands Merrell and Sebago, Wolverine World Wide (NYSE: WWW) hit a six-and-a-half-year high and beat analysts' third-quarter earnings expectations of 47 cents a share. Earnings for the quarter were $21.95 million, or 55 cents a share, up from $16.41 million, or 40 cents a share, in the same period a year ago.

Revenue rose 13 percent to $260.9 million from $230.6 million, exceeding the average analyst forecast of $248.9 million. The results were driven not only by strength in Merrell and Sebago, but also by strong profit performances from its Wolverine, CAT and Hush Puppies brands.

"The overall growth of our lifestyle-oriented business has resulted in earlier deliveries for the current fall/winter selling season, and our global market penetration gained further momentum in the quarter, most notably in Europe," said CEO Timothy O'Donovan. "New product innovation continues to drive the business and resulted in an increase in our quarter-end backlog of approximately 19 percent as compared to the end of the third quarter in 2003. All four of our footwear groups achieved backlog increases."

Based on the strength of its year-to-date results, increased order backlog and anticipated re-order business for the remainder of the year, Wolverine is increasing its 2004 estimates and now expects revenue to range from $975 million to $985 million, as compared to the previous estimate of $960 million to $980 million. It also expects earnings per share to range from $1.60 to $1.62, up from the $1.44 to $1.52 estimate.

Wolverine's stock shot up $2.89, or 11 percent, to $29.26, making it the NYSE's biggest percentage gainer. The shares ran up to a high of $29.75 in intraday trading, the highest price seen since March 1998.

Rocky stands behind 3Q expectations

Despite the barrage of hurricanes in the southeast disrupting business, Rocky Shoes and Boots (NasdaqNM: RCKY) expects its third-quarter sales and earnings to meet Wall Street expectations. It anticipates posting quarterly earnings of 95 cents a share on sales of $50 million, above year-ago earnings of 77 cents a share on revenue of $41 million. CEO Mike Brooks said in a statement that factories in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic were impacted by multiple hurricanes during the period, resulting in power outages but no severe damage. "We were able to achieve our third-quarter production objectives as a result of dedicated efforts throughout the company," he added. Rocky will report its full third-quarter results in late October.

West Marine lowers 3Q earnings estimate

West Marine's (NasdaqNM: WMAR) September same-store sales fell 6.5 percent as a result of the hurricanes that recently swept the Southeastern United States, causing the retailer to lower its third-quarter earnings estimate. Total sales fell 3.7 percent to $54.5 million from $56.6 million last year. For the quarter ended Oct. 2, same-store sales fell 7.7 percent and total sales declined 4.6 percent to $183.1 million from $191.9 million. Year-to-date same-store sales rose 1.1 percent, as total sales for the period increased 5.4 percent to $564.9 million. The company also said that a continued trend of decreased customer spending also hurt sales. It also lowered its earnings estimate to 32 cents per share, while analysts have been expecting 34 cents.

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