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Wolverine is off to an outstanding start in 2011
Apr '11
Wolverine World Wide Inc reported that strong consumer demand and accelerated revenue growth across its brand portfolio generated record performance in the first quarter of 2011.

Reported revenue for the first quarter was $330.9 million, an increase of 16.1% versus the prior year. The outstanding revenue performance was broad-based, as all three branded operating groups contributed to the consolidated record result.

Fully diluted earnings were a record $0.72 per share, compared to 2010 adjusted fully diluted earnings of $0.56 per share, an increase of 28.6%. The prior year's adjusted earnings exclude the impact of restructuring charges and other expenses related to the Company's strategic restructuring plan that was completed in the second quarter of 2010. Reported fully diluted earnings for the first quarter 2010 were $0.54 per share.

"Wolverine World Wide is off to an outstanding start in 2011," stated Blake W. Krueger, the Company's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "We experienced strong consumer demand for our products across all geographic regions. Our Outdoor Group, especially the Merrell brand, and the Heritage Group both delivered impressive results during the quarter.

"All of our brands have a rich history and authentic heritage, which is resonating within the global marketplace. Our investments and efforts behind product innovation and design over the past several years are paying dividends and providing us with a sustainable advantage and point of differentiation with consumers.

"As just one example, the new Merrell Barefoot Collection, introduced at retail just this past February, has exceeded our expectations and is already one of the most successful product launches in the history of the Company. Superb product innovation, coupled with our team's rigorous and consistent execution of our global business model, has the Company well positioned for future growth."

Krueger concluded, "2011 is off to a fantastic start for the Company and our outlook has never been better. The strength of our leadership team, our steadfast focus on execution and our continued drive to deliver innovative products have positioned the Company for another excellent year."

Don Grimes, the Company's Chief Financial Officer, commented, "Our disciplined management of the business during the challenging macroeconomic conditions of the past few years has laid the groundwork for accelerated growth across the brand portfolio. We are balancing continued financial discipline with investments behind our brands that we believe will drive growth and provide excellent returns for our shareholders."

Highlights for the quarter:

• Gross margin was 41.6%, slightly above the prior year's gross margin, adjusted for restructuring and related charges. Benefits from strategic price increases were offset by negative mix and increased product costs during the quarter. Reported gross margin for the first quarter 2010 was 41.3%.

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