Wolverine World Wide, Inc. reported revenues climbed 6.8% in the second quarter ended June 14, to $267.4 million from $250.3 million in the prior year. Earnings per share grew 17.9% to 33 cents versus 28 cents in the second quarter of 2007. For the first half of 2008, revenue reached $555.6 million, a 4.6% gain over the $531.4 million reported for the first half of 2007. Earnings per share grew to 79 cents per share, up 17.9% from 67 cents per share for the same period of 2007.

Blake W. Krueger, the company's CEO and president commented, “We are pleased to report another record quarter for the company, particularly in light of the generally tough economic conditions in several major global markets. Our strong financial results were broad-based — all four of our branded operating groups contributed to the revenue increase as consumers around the world continued to embrace the style, performance and innovation of the lifestyle brands in the Wolverine portfolio. Our revenue increase was also geographically diverse, as all global regions reported sales increases in the quarter.

“We are proud of the company's solid financial performance in the first half of 2008. Our business model of operating multiple brands across a broad array of global markets and distribution channels continues to produce excellent results in a challenging business environment. The innovative product offerings from our eight great brands are in demand with consumers in nearly 200 countries and territories around the world.”

Don Grimes, the company's chief financial officer, commented, “Gross margin in the second quarter of 2008 increased modestly to 38.3%, as benefits from foreign currency translation were offset by increased product and freight costs. Year-to-date gross margin grew to 40.3%, an improvement of 88 basis points compared to the prior year. Operating margin of 9.7% for the second quarter of 2008 improved 27 basis points over the second quarter of 2007. This improvement reflects continued tight control on operating expenses, which decreased 13 basis points as a percentage of sales compared to the prior year. We are pleased with our operating margin expansion given the continuing investment in our brand marketing and product initiatives.

“Inventory levels were down 7.0% compared to last year, as sound inventory management programs were successfully executed in the quarter. Our second quarter accounts receivable increased 12.8% due to the strong quarterly sales performance, particularly in the latter half of the quarter. We repurchased 209,700 shares of stock in the quarter for $5.9 million and ended the second quarter with a cash balance of $77.9 million.”

Krueger concluded, “The Company's impressive second quarter performance is a testament to our team's focused execution of our global brand strategy. In light of the challenging retail environment, we were pleased that our order backlog was up in the mid single-digit range at the end of the second quarter. Our business model continues to deliver record financial results.”

The company is maintaining its full year 2008 revenue guidance of $1.23 to $1.26 billion and its earnings per share range of $1.83 to $1.90, representing growth of 7.6% to 11.8% over the $1.70 reported for 2007.