The Group’s reported a -2% decline in underlying revenue and a reported gross margin of 39.7%, against 39.6% in the prior year.  Adjusted gross margin on a constant currency basis was 41.7%, up 120 basis points versus the prior year. Inventory at the end of the quarter was down 25.9% versus the prior year, “meaningfully better than expected”, and the Company successfully exited 104 underperforming stores during the quarter and an additional 76 stores subsequent to quarter-end.

Under the ‘Wolverine Way Forward’ transformation programme, the store restructuring plan is said to have accelerated in the quarter, with 180 stores closed since the beginning of 2017. All Stride Rite and Track-N-Trail concept stores are now closed, which allowed the Company to liquidate inventory totalling approximately US$20 million during the quarter. The transformation programme includes “key operational excellence initiatives with incremental operating profit benefits, further solidifying the Company’s confidence in achieving its stated goal of 12% adjusted operating margin by the end of 2018”, says a statement.

“We are pleased to deliver better-than-expected results for the first quarter, demonstrating the success of our strategy focused on operational excellence, growth and speed”, said Mike Stornant, Senior Vice-President and CFO, Wolverine Worldwide. “Our proactive efforts aimed at overcoming the challenging global market conditions paid off in the first quarter, with nearly all brands in the portfolio exceeding their revenue plans, while also over-delivering on our operating profit goals”, he added.

Stock of Wolverine Worldwide are said to have risen 6.81% at the announcement of results.