Outdoor financials: Wolverine shares rise on analyst upgrade, plus VF, adidas, Sport Chalet, Rocky Brands

Wolverine shares rose on an analyst upgrade, VF reported that its markets were stable for '09, adidas said it is focused on restructuring Reebok and growing the Outdoor brand, Sport Chalet topped the list of "biggest percentage price gainers" on Nasdaq, and Rocky adopted a shareholder rights plan.

Wolverine shares rise on analyst upgrade

A CL King analyst upgraded Wolverine World Wide (NYSE: WWW), parent of Merrell, noting that results will likely improve in Q4 for the company. Company shares rose nearly 15 percent on June 11.

"Wolverine is managing as well as any company during this recession and is positioned to reach higher levels of profitability than ever before as soon as an economic recovery unfolds," wrote analyst Scott Krasik in a client note.

He added that sales trends should stabilize later this year. "Wolverine could easily outperform its guidance and current expectations due to better fourth-quarter sales, a weaker dollar and greater savings than modeled from its restructuring programs announced in January," he wrote.

Krasik raised his rating to "Strong Buy" from "Neutral" and introduced a $26 price target on the stock.

Shares rose as high as $2.71 to $23.90 during midday trading. It closed at $23.21. The stock has traded between $13.15 and $29.44 during the past 52 weeks.

VF markets stable for '09, hope for growth in '10

VF Corp. (NYSE: VFC), parent of The North Face and JanSport, said its U.S. business has stabilized since significant hits in December through February, but does not expect growth in 2009.

Eric Wiseman told the Reuters Global Retail Summit in London that he does not expect any of VF's markets to return to growth in 2009. He's hopeful of a recovery in 2010 but is not banking on it.

"We will not be assuming that there's an enormous recovery that lifts our performance. That assumption is off the table," he said in a statement. "Whether there's any improvement in 2010, and when you assume it, is the discussions we're having now."

Wiseman said VF is looking to do more acquisitions, with the recession having spawned "lots of opportunities," and was having "a lot of discussions." Its portfolio expansion priorities are outdoor, action sports and contemporary brands.

adidas focuses on Reebok restructure, growing Outdoor brand

In an interview with German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, adidas CEO Herbert Hainer said it is making progress in restructuring Reebok and it wants to grow its Outdoor brand, which it launched in 2007.

"We are making significant progress with Reebok," he was quoted as saying when asked whether adidas was considering selling Reebok, though he added that the restructuring was not proceeding "fast enough."

Also, adidas is looking to grow its Outdoor brand on its own, which has had sales grow by a two-digit percentage this year. It is investing in Outdoor and has recently renewed its partnership with Reinhold Messner, with an agreement to intensify cooperation in product development, among other things.

Sport Chalet tops list of gainers

On June 12, Sport Chalet (Nasdaq: SPCHB) topped the list of "biggest percentage price gainers" among common stocks on the Nasdaq Stock Market. It rose as high as $4.52, up $1.88 from the day before, on a volume of 24,100. It closed the day at $2.80.

Rocky adopts shareholder rights plan

Rocky Brands (Nasdaq: RCKY) has adopted a shareholder rights plan, but said the move was not done in response to an anticipated hostile takeover. The company will issue a dividend of one right for each of its common shares held by shareholders of record as of June 22. It said the plan is designed to assure shareholders fair value in the event of a future unsolicited business combination or similar transaction involving the company.

--Compiled by Wendy Geister

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