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Cold weather offerings drive LaCrosse outdoor sales
27
Apr '09
LaCrosse Footwear Inc, a leading provider of work and outdoor footwear, reported results for the first quarter ended March 28, 2009.

For the first quarter of 2009, LaCrosse reported consolidated net sales of $25.9 million, up 5% from $24.7 million in the first quarter of 2008. While the Company continued to grow its revenue, the challenging near-term retail environment and LaCrosse's significant investments in strengthening its foundation for long-term growth, including its new Midwest distribution center, resulted in its first quarterly net loss since fiscal 2004. The net loss was $0.7 million or ($0.11) per diluted share in the first quarter of 2009, compared to net income of $0.8 million or $0.12 per diluted share in the first quarter of 2008.

Sales to the work market were $19.0 million for the first quarter of 2009, up 6% from $17.9 million for the same period of 2008. The growth in work sales reflects continued penetration into various avenues within the U.S. Government market, including growing demand from aftermarket military suppliers. The sales growth from the government channel was partially offset by the impact of the bankruptcies of two major retailers and widespread softness in the retail channel.

Sales to the outdoor market were $6.9 million for the first quarter of 2009, up slightly from $6.8 million for the same period of 2008. Despite continued softness in the overall retail environment, the Company's first quarterly increase in outdoor sales since the third quarter of 2007 was primarily due to strength in its cold weather product offerings.

For the first quarter of 2009, gross margins were 37.9% of net sales, compared to 40.7% in the same period of 2008. The decline in gross margins was primarily due to the impact of the Company's investments in its Portland factory, increased costs as a result of re-sourcing due to the closure of one of its third party manufacturing facilities in 2008, an increase in markdown sales, and certain product cost and mix changes.

LaCrosse's operating expenses were $10.9 million in the first quarter of 2009, up $1.9 million from the first quarter of 2008. The year-over-year increase reflects expenditures of $1.0 million for the Company's new European subsidiary, $0.5 million for the new Midwest distribution center and $0.3 million for increased provision for bad debts, as well as the increased investment in sales, merchandizing and product development resources.

The Company continued to maintain a strong balance sheet. At the end of the first quarter of 2009, LaCrosse had cash and cash equivalents of $12.1 million, up from $10.3 million at the end of the first quarter of 2008, despite cash outlays during the past twelve months of $3.1 million in dividends to its shareholders and $3.2 million for the inventories and operations of its former European distributor.

“While overall retail demand remained at historic lows in the first quarter of 2009, we continued to grow our revenue, capture market share and invest in the long-term strength of our business,” said Joseph P. Schneider, president and CEO of LaCrosse Footwear, Inc. “Our sustained efforts to diversify our channels and work closely with our customers to meet their specific footwear needs continue to pay off.


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