Weyco Group, Inc. said North American wholesale sales of its Bogs outdoor footwear brand rose 22 percent in the fourth quarter. The boot brand benefited from the “harsh winter weather across significant parts of the U.S.,” said Thomas W. Florsheim, Jr., the company's chairman and CEO.

For the year, Bogs, which was acquired by Weyco in May 2011, recorded a NA Wholesale sales gain of 9 percent, to approximately $40 million. The gain reflected higher sales volumes in both the U.S. and Canada. Bogs net sales in Canada included $1.1 million of additional volume in 2013 due to the takeover of Bogs Canadian distribution in June 2012.

Florsheim said that following two mild winters, Bogs was conservative with its inventory positioning and “didn’t realize the full upside based on weather-related demand.” But the current lower inventory levels in the marketplace and strong brand performance “bodes well for the Fall 2014 selling season.”

Regardless of the winter boots strength, Bogs remains committed to expanding into less weather-related categories. Bogs kids is expanding into a range of casuals for Fall. Women is introducing non-insulated, fashion styles constructed with waterproof leather while men’s will be coming out with more lifestyle product with waterproof leathers, casual shoes and hikers. Florsheim said Bogs is making sure the product contains the “unique character” of the Bogs brand.

Companywide, sales inched up 0.1 percent to $78.5 million in the quarter and gained 2.3 percent in the year, to $300.3 million. Many of its other brands were impacted by the generally soft holiday selling season. Nunn Bush’s sales were down 2 percent in the quarter but advanced 8 percent in the year. Florsheim’s sales were down 2 percent in the quarter but grew 4 percent in the year, helped by the addition of kids. Sales of Stacy Adams slid 2 percent in the quarter and year due to fewer closeout sales.

Net earnings in the quarter slid 11.4 percent to $6.8 million, or 62 cents a share, from $7.7 million, or 71 cents, a year ago. Earnings from last year's fourth quarter included approximately $1.8 million ($1.1 million after tax) of income resulting from a reduction in the estimated liability for future payments related to the 2011 acquisition of Bogs. Without this adjustment, net earnings would have been up 4 percent for the quarter.

For the year, profits were down 7.2 percent to $17.6 million or $1.62 a share, from $19.0 million, or $1.73, in 2012. Excluding the reduced liability from Bogs in the year-ago period, earnings would have been up 5 percent.