Wolverine World Wide, Inc. saw fourth quarter revenues increase 4.6% to $357.4 million from $341.7 million in the year-ago period. Full year revenues were up 5.0% to $1.20 billion for 2007, compared to $1.14 billion for the prior year. Merrell led all other divisions with double-digit earnings and sales growth.
“Our exceptional financial performance in 2007 underscores the strength of our global business model,” stated Blake W. Krueger, the company's CEO and President. “Wolverine has a unique operating platform consisting of a powerful portfolio of eight lifestyle brands, a broad geographic reach that spans 180 countries and a diverse global distribution strategy which focuses on many different consumer groups around the world. Our business model has enabled us to consistently deliver growth and record earnings per share, even in the face of macroeconomic headwinds. In 2007, our revenue and earnings increases were broad-based with all major geographic regions experiencing growth.”
“In the fourth quarter, gross margin increased 110 basis points compared to the same quarter of last year, helping to contribute to a 70 basis point improvement for the full year,” reported the company's CFO, Stephen L. Gulis Jr. “Operating margin for the full year 2007 significantly exceeded our plan and grew to 11.6%, reflecting the strong gross margin improvement.
“Inventory was down 10.0% at year-end and our solid operating results generated approximately $128 million of cash from operating activities. Our return on assets and return on equity reached record levels, and the company's overall financial position has never been stronger.”
Mr. Krueger continued, “Our 2007 year-end order backlog was up nearly 10% over the prior year-end level, and our business model continues to deliver expanding operating margin and improved financial metrics in a challenging consumer environment. We now expect revenue for 2008 to range from $1.230 to $1.260 billion. Based on the strength of our performance and the confidence we have in the breadth and diversity of our global business model, we are increasing our 2008 earnings per share estimate from our previously announced range of $1.78 to $1.84, to a range of $1.80 to $1.88.”