Outdoor financials: Weak consumer climate rocks Columbia's Q1 profit, plus Deckers, Johnson Outdoors, LaCrosse, Jarden, Luxottica, Rocky, VF Corp., GSI Commerce - SNEWS

Outdoor financials: Weak consumer climate rocks Columbia's Q1 profit, plus Deckers, Johnson Outdoors, LaCrosse, Jarden, Luxottica, Rocky, VF Corp., GSI Commerce

The weak consumer climate rocked Columbia's Q1 profit, Ugg sales boosted Deckers' Q1 bottom line, Johnson Outdoors' Q2 profit dropped 74 percent, LaCrosse Footwear reported a 4-percent increase in Q1 sales, Jarden debuted on the Fortune 500 list, Luxottica's Q1 profit was hit by the weak U.S. market, Rocky's Q1 profit plunged 61 percent, VF announced a board member resignation, and GSI Commerce boasted a 34-percent jump in Q1 revenue.
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Weak consumer climate rocks Columbia's Q1 profit

Hit by a weak U.S. consumer environment, Columbia Sportswear (Nasdaq: COLM) reported a 24-percent drop in first-quarter profit and a lower backlog.

Quarterly earnings fell 24 percent to $19.9 million, or $0.56 per share, from $26.1 million, or $0.71 per share last year. Revenue rose 3 percent to $297.4 million from $289.6 million last year.

Sales in Latin America and Asia Pacific rose 20 percent to $49 million. Canadian sales rose 4 percent to $26.9 million, and U.S. net sales were flat at $155.8 million. Sales in Europe, the Middle East and Africa region fell 3 percent to $65.7 million.

Compared with the first quarter of 2007, first-quarter 2008 outerwear net sales increased 16 percent to $69.6 million, and accessories and equipment net sales increased 12 percent to $15.4 million. Net sales of sportswear dropped 1 percent to $161.1 million and 3 percent to $51.3 million for footwear.

Compared with the first quarter of 2007, Columbia brand net sales increased 2 percent to $267.2 million, Mountain Hardwear brand net sales increased 23 percent to $21.8 million, and Sorel brand net sales increased 6 percent to $3.7 million in 2008. Net sales for the Montrail brand dropped 20 percent to $3.9 million.

The company said its backlog is down about 4 percent, as retailers ordered less amid a difficult environment, and offered yearly guidance below expectations.

For FY 2008, the company predicts earnings between $3.15 and $3.20 per share. It expects sales to rise 2 percent to $1.32 billion. For the second quarter, Columbia expects earnings of 3 cents per share on sales of $238.7 million.

Also, Columbia declared a regular quarterly dividend of $0.16 payable on May 29 to shareholders of record as of May 15.

Ugg sales boost Deckers' Q1 bottom line

Deckers Outdoor (Nasdaq: DECK) said first-quarter profit rose 20 percent, driven by the popularity of its spring line of Ugg shoes.

Quarterly profit rose to $11.3 million, or $0.86 per share, from $9.5 million, or $0.73 per share last year. Revenue rose 34 percent to $97.5 million from $72.6 million last year.

First-quarter net sales for the Ugg brand jumped 83.6 percent to $54.8 million compared to $29.8 million for the same period last year.

The Teva brand's net sales decreased 2.6 percent to $37.7 million for the first quarter compared to $38.7 million for the same period last year.

Net sales for the Simple brand increased 25.2 percent to $5.1 million compared to $4.0 million for the same period last year.

Sales for the eCommerce business, which are included in the brand sales numbers, increased 75.4 percent to $15.6 million for the first quarter compared to $8.9 million for the same period a year ago. Sales for the retail store business increased 145.4 percent to $5.3 million for the first quarter compared to $2.2 million for the same period a year ago.

Deckers also raised its yearly guidance, predicting yearly earnings will rise 27 percent to $6.43 per share from the prior year, from an earlier estimate of 21 percent. It now expects 2008 revenue to rise 31 percent to $588 million over 2007, from a previous guidance of 25 percent.

For the second quarter, it predicts a 50-percent rise in earnings to $0.30 cents per share. The company predicts revenue will grow 30 percent to $68.5 million.

In other company news: Deckers named Thomas Hillebrandt as chief financial officer.

He replaces Zohar Ziv, who was named chief operating officer in December and has been acting chief financial officer since then. Hillebrandt was most recently corporate controller and chief accounting officer of K2 Inc.



Johnson Outdoors Q2 profit drops 74 percent


Johnson Outdoors (Nasdaq: JOUT), parent of Old Town, Ocean Kayak and Necky, among others, said its second-quarter profit dropped 74 percent due to slow military sales and soft demand for boats.

For the quarter ended March 28, net income fell to $462,000, or $0.05 per share, from $1.7 million, or $0.19 per share in the prior-year quarter.

Revenue fell less than 1 percent to $121.8 million from $122 million in the second quarter of 2008.

The company said sales fell in the outdoor equipment division because of slow military sales and in the marine electronics unit because of a soft domestic boat market.

Sales were up 5.1 percent in the watercraft segment due to strong sales of paddlesport accessories, it added. Sales were particularly strong in the diving segment from growth in international markets.

LaCrosse Footwear reports 4-percent increase in Q1 sales

LaCrosse Footwear (Nasdaq: BOOT), parent of Danner, posted a slight increase in sales and earnings for the first quarter of 2008, compared with the same period last year.

For the quarter ending March 29, the company reported consolidated net sales of $24.7 million, up 4 percent from $23.7 million in the first quarter of 2007. Net income was close to $800,000, or $0.12 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2008, up 29 percent from $604,000, or $0.10 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2007.

Sales to the outdoor market were $6.8 million for the first quarter of 2008, compared with $8.3 million for the same quarter of 2007. LaCrosse said the decline in overall outdoor sales was primarily due to a $1.3 million decrease in sales to the company's European distributor because of unfavorable weather conditions in the company's principal sales regions of Europe and a generally cautious retail environment in North America.

Sales to the work market were $17.9 million for the first quarter of 2008, up from $15.4 million for the same period of 2007.

During the quarter, LaCrosse paid a special cash dividend of $1 per share of common stock and a first-quarter cash dividend of 12.5 cents per share of common stock, totaling approximately $7 million. As a result, LaCrosse ended the first quarter of 2008 with cash and cash equivalents of $10.3 million, compared with $15.6 million at the end of the same period in 2007.

The company's inventory at the end of the first quarter of 2008 increased 20 percent from the same period in 2007. This increase primarily reflects some carryover from hunting boots not shipped during the third quarter of 2007 due to unfavorable weather conditions during that period.

LaCrosse's board also approved a quarterly dividend of $0.125 per share of common stock to be paid on June 18 to shareholders of record as of May 22.

Jarden debuts on Fortune 500 list

Jarden Corp. (NYSE: JAH) said it has been recognized for the first time in the newly released Fortune 500 annual listing of the nation's largest companies.

Jarden's net sales grew 21 percent to $4.7 billion in fiscal 2007, which moved the company from its 544th position in 2007 into the ranks of the Fortune 500 for the first time with a ranking of 492nd.

Jarden is the parent of Coleman, Campingaz, K2, Marmot and Marker.

Luxottica Q1 profit hit by weak U.S. market

Luxottica Group SpA (NYSE: LUX), parent of Oakley, said its first-quarter net profit dropped 19 percent as retail sales in the United States, its largest single market, continued to decline and the weak dollar took a toll.

Net profit for the first quarter fell to EUR 103.7 million (USD $163.5 million) from EUR 128.3 million (USD $204.6 million) in the same period a year earlier. Its first half is being affected by one-time restructuring charges, it said.

The company said its wholesale operating income surged 32.9 percent to EUR 619.6 million (USD $977.05 million), but retail operating income slipped 6.5 percent to EUR 779.1 million (USD $1.23 billion), as consumer traffic slowed in the United States.

The company posted an operating profit of EUR 207.1 million (USD $326.58 million) for the first quarter, down from EUR 224.1 million (USD $357.4 million) a year earlier.

Luxottica said it expects profits to improve in the second half of the year as its acquisition of Oakley and cost reduction efforts begin to yield results.

(Conversion of Euros into U.S. dollars is for information only, is not necessarily relative to earnings, and is based on the currency rate as of April 24.)



Rocky Q1 profit plunges 61 percent


Rocky Brands' (Nasdaq: RCKY) first-quarter profit fell 61 percent on weaker sales and higher expenses.

Its first-quarter profit was $300,915, or $0.05 a share, down from $765,905, or $0.14 a share, a year ago. While last year's first quarter included a one-time, after-tax benefit of $400,000 through reimbursement from the U.S. military, this year's quarter included a 4-percent increase in overhead expenses.

First-quarter revenue was down 2 percent to $60.5 million from $61.7 million a year ago. The company said retail and military sales weren't enough to offset a decline in wholesale activity.

Looking ahead, the company said it would control production costs while boosting inventory, which grew 11 percent from last year, to support retail growth. The cost of sales in the first quarter nudged down to about 57 percent of total revenue from 58 percent a year ago. Production costs exceeded 60 percent of revenue last year.

Rocky said inventory increased $8.0 million, or 11.2 percent, to $79.8 million March 31 compared with $71.8 million on the same date a year ago. The increase in inventory is to support the expected growth in the retail division.

VF announces board member resignation

VF Corp. (NYSE: VFC) said Dan Hesse, president and CEO of Sprint Nextel, has decided to resign from VF's board of directors, effectively immediately, to focus on his business commitments.

He was elected to the board in 1999, and served as a member on its finance and compensation committees.

VF is parent of various outdoor brands including The North Face, JanSport, Eastpak and Eagle Creek.

GSI Commerce boasts 34-percent jump in Q1 revenue

GSI Commerce (Nasdaq: GSIC) said its revenue increased 34 percent to $195.5 million for the quarter ended March 29. Adjusted income from operations was $700,000, better than the company had expected.

Net loss for the quarter was $9.6 million, or $0.20 per share, compared to $2.3 million, or $0.05 per share, last year's first quarter.

Loss from operations was $17.8 million this year compared to a loss of $4.8 million last year.

GSI expects 2008 sales of about $1 billion. Income from operations is expected to be in a range of a loss of $1.5 million to income of $1.5 million.

Stifel Nicolaus analyst Scott Devitt, who has a "Hold" rating on the stock, wrote in a client note that its business is holding up despite the economic slowdown.

The better-than-expected first-quarter results boosted GSI's shares up $2.69, or 23.6 percent, to close at $14.07 on April 23.

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