ROCKFORD — Wolverine World Wide Inc. posted record first quarter revenue of $191.5 million, up 8 percent over the $177.3 million reported for the first quarter of 2002.
Earnings per share during the first quarter increased 20 percent to 18 cents per share, compared with 15 cents per share for the same quarter last year.
President and CEO Timothy O’Donovan attributed the increase in revenue to strong retailer response to the company’s 2003 product offerings and a more aggressive approach to marketing.
Revenue gains for the company’s Merrell brand exceeded expectations during the quarter, O’Donovan said, noting that Merrell has achieved year-over-year revenue increases for 21 consecutive quarters.
The Hush Puppies business posted a double-digit revenue increase for the quarter, with sales gains in all operating units, as well as increases in the Hush Puppies International wholesale and licensing operations.
Wolverine Footwear Group sales were up modestly, with sales from the Bates and Harley-Davidson brands offsetting weaker sales of Wolverine boots. The global CAT business was flat, with stronger sales of the company’s “younger lifestyle footwear” offsetting lower sales of traditional work boots.
“Operationally, we are generating leverage, as evidenced by our earnings growth rate, which was more than twice the rate of our revenue increase during the quarter,” O’Donovan said. “As a result, all of our branded footwear groups showed positive earnings gains in the quarter and contributed to our record earnings performance.”
Order backlog at the end of the first quarter was up 14.7 percent from 2002’s first quarter. As a result, O’Donovan said, Wolverine anticipates that fiscal 2003 revenue will reach $875 million to $885 million and that earnings will range from $1.21 to $1.24 per share.