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Wolverine World Wide increases full year EPS estimate
Oct '08
Wolverine World Wide Inc reported record sales and earnings for the third quarter of 2008, the Company's 25th consecutive quarter of record revenue and earnings per share results.

Revenue totaled $318.9 million in the quarter ended September 6, 2008, a 2.8% increase over revenue of $310.2 million in the prior year.

Fully diluted earnings per share were $0.62 versus $0.54 in the third quarter of 2007, an increase of 14.8%. For the first three quarters of 2008, revenue reached $874.5 million, a 3.9% gain over the $841.5 million reported for the first three quarters of 2007.

Year-to-date reported earnings per share were $1.41 per share, up 16.4% from $1.21 per share for the same period of 2007.

Blake W. Krueger, the Company's Chief Executive Officer and President commented, "We are pleased to report strong results for the third quarter, particularly in light of continuing tough global economic conditions.

Our team's focused execution against our multi-brand, multi-country and multi-category brand-building model enables us to consistently post excellent financial results.

The Company's financial performance in the quarter was highlighted by the Merrell brand, which delivered a high single-digit revenue gain and a double-digit increase in earnings contribution.

"While 2008 has thus far proven to be a challenging year for the footwear industry, we are extremely proud of the balanced performance of our global brand portfolio.

The Company remains focused on executing our global lifestyle brand strategy, while simultaneously driving operating efficiencies to help support that strategy."

Don Grimes, the Company's Chief Financial Officer, commented, "Operating margin of 14.5% in the quarter is a 22 basis point improvement over the prior year, and was driven by modest gross margin expansion and operating expense leverage.

Inventory levels were down 2.1% for the quarter, while accounts receivable increased 2.1% on the 2.8% revenue increase.

The Company repurchased approximately 745,000 shares of stock in the quarter for $19.0 million, and ended the third quarter with a cash balance of $74.3 million. The Company's balance sheet remains one of the strongest in the industry."

Based on the strength of reported third quarter results and its diversified global business model, the Company is raising its full-year earnings guidance to a range of $1.87 to $1.92 per fully diluted share on a revised revenue range of $1.220 to $1.240 billion. The revised earnings per share range represents growth of 10% to 13% over 2007 earnings per share of $1.70.

Wolverine World Wide Inc

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