Wolverine Worldwide's global headquarters. Photo via fb.com
Wolverine Worldwide has sold off its U.S. Department of Defense contracts business.
The Rockford-based maker of footwear and apparel said last week it sold its associated assets and transferred outstanding DoD contracts to Original Footwear, a Morristown, Tennessee-based footwear maker, which specializes in products for the DoD under the Altama brand. Original also owns the Original S.W.A.T. and Ro-Search brands.
Included in the sale is Wolverine Worldwide’s Big Rapids factory, which is one of the largest producers of footwear for the U.S. military.
Original Footwear will become a supplier for Wolverine for certain products currently made in Big Rapids.
Wolverine Worldwide said it will retain the Bates brand and continue to operate the Bates civilian and military exchange businesses.
The sale is intended to “improve the future viability” of operations for the Big Rapids factory. Original Footwear qualifies as a “small business” under U.S. Small Business Administration regulations, which allows the company to access contracts not available to “large” corporations like Wolverine Worldwide.
"The sale to Original Footwear will provide the opportunity for the Big Rapids factory to compete for Department of Defense contracts set aside for small businesses," said Blake Krueger, chairman, CEO and president, Wolverine Worldwide. "We firmly believe that the sale of the Big Rapids factory and the DoD business to Original Footwear is in the best interest of the Big Rapids operations.”
The sale to Original Footwear is part of Wolverine Worldwide’s Wolverine Way Forward campaign: a strategy intended to “improve near-term performance, while building a foundation for the future.”
Wolverine Worldwide, founded in 1883, and makes footwear and apparel for a variety of markets: casual; active lifestyle; work; outdoor sport; athletic; children's; and uniform.
The company’s brand portfolio includes Wolverine, Merrell, Saucony and more.
Its products are carried in about 200 countries and territories.