Outdoor financials: Wolverine to cut 10 percent of workforce, plus Big 5

Wolverine to cut 10 percent of workforce, Big 5's Q4 same-store sales down 8.6 percent.
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Wolverine to cut 10 percent of workforce

Wolverine World Wide (NYSE: WWW), parent of Merrell and licensee of Patagonia Footwear, said it will cut 450 jobs -- about 10 percent of its staff -- in a cost-saving effort.

The company plans to save $17 million to $19 million annually from the restructuring, which will cost $31 million to $36 million before taxes to implement. The charges will be recorded throughout 2009.

The company is consolidating distribution and global operations functions, realigning its domestic manufacturing operations, considering alternatives for its company-owned leather business and cutting corporate costs.

This plan represents the second phase of a top-to-bottom strategic review of the company's branded businesses and related infrastructure. The first phase of this review resulted in Wolverine's decision over a year ago to exit several non-core businesses.

After the cuts, the company will employ about 4,200 people.

In October, Wolverine said profit for its fiscal third quarter rose 6 percent to $31.2 million, while revenue rose 3 percent to $318.9 million.

Big 5's Q4 same-store sales down 8.6 percent

Big 5 Sporting Goods (Nasdaq: BGFV) said same-store sales fell 8.6 percent in the fourth quarter as fewer customers visited its stores. Despite that, it offered new guidance toward the higher end of its previous estimates for the quarter and the year, noting it was managing its inventories and not significantly reducing its product margins.

For the fourth quarter, the company said sales fell 5.4 percent to $219.6 million, down from $232.1 million in the year-earlier period.

For the full year, sales fell 3.7 percent to $864.7 million, from $898.3 million last year. Same-store sales fell 7 percent for the year.

The company reported that its three major categories performed well in the quarter, with hardgoods the strongest, followed by footwear and apparel.

It's focused on controlling expenses and managing inventories, it said, adding that per-store inventories ended the year about 11 percent lower than the previous year.

The company's positive cash flow allowed it to reduce borrowings under its credit facility to $96.5 million at the end of the year, compared with $103.4 million at the end of the previous year.

The company said it expects earnings per share in the fourth quarter to range from $0.13 to $0.16, which was toward the upper end of its previously issued guidance of $0.07 to $0.17.

The company said for the year it expects earnings per share to range from $0.61 to $0.64, which is also toward the higher end of its previous estimate of a range of $0.55 to $0.65.

--Compiled by Wendy Geister

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