On a reported basis, Wolverine Worldwide’s gross margin was 42.1% in the first quarter (Q1 2018: 42.7%), while operating margin was 10% (Q1 2018: 12%). Diluted earnings per share was US$0.43 in the period, compared with U$0.48 in the prior year. Blake Krueger, Chairman, CEO and President, Wolverine WorldWide, said the first quarter earnings per share exceeded expectations, with four of the Company’s top-five brands delivering revenue above plan during the quarter, including Merrell and Saucony, while its e-commerce business “continued to be robust”; up 28% over the prior year.  

Wolverine entered a joint venture agreement with Xtep International Holdings, a leading Chinese sportswear retailer, to develop, market and distribute Merrell and Saucony products in mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau. The Company said it is also expanding its European operations by acquiring one of its key Saucony footwear distributors. The investment is expected to expand the Company’s owned market presence in the region and strengthen growth opportunities for the brand.

Looking ahead, Wolverine maintains its guidance for the year. Revenue is still expected to be in the range of US$2.28 billion to US$2.33 billion, representing growth of 3% at the mid-point of the range, while gross margin is forecast to be in the range of 41.3% to 41.8%, up 45 basis points at the mid-point of the range.