Wolverine Worldwide reported a gross margin of 37.8% for the fourth quarter of 2019, down 140 basis points versus the prior year. Reported operating margin was -0.8% in the period, and adjusted operating margin was 10.1%. Reported diluted loss per share was US$0.01, compared with earnings per share of US$0.39 in the corresponding quarter of 2018. Adjusted diluted earnings per share increased 13.5% to US$0.59, compared with US$0.52 in the prior year.

For full 2019, reported revenue was US$2,273.7 million, up 1.5% year-on-year, and reported gross margin 40.6%, down 50 basis points, while reported operating margin was 7.5%. Reported diluted earnings per share were US$1.44, compared with US$2.05 in the prior year. The Group said its reported results include the impact of the previously disclosed litigation settlements related to legacy environmental matters. As reported by ILM, chemical manufacturer 3M has been ordered to pay US$55 million to Wolverine Worldwide in a bid to help the company cover the cost of extending municipal water to neighbourhoods in the U.S. state of Michigan, due to drinking water contaminated by PFAS chemicals from industrial waste dumping.

“We had a very solid finish to the year, with Merrell, Sperry and Saucony, our top three brands, combining to deliver nearly 10% constant currency growth in the second half”, said Mike Stornant, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Wolverine Worldwide. “In the fourth quarter, our e-commerce and international channels exceeded expectations and were major contributors to our overall performance.” For full 2020, the Group expects revenue to be approximately US$2.29 billion to US$2.34 billion, representing growth of approximately 3% at the high-end of the range. This outlook includes an estimated revenue impact from the coronavirus of approximately US$30 million in the first half of 2020. Excluding the estimated coronavirus impact, constant currency growth in 2020 is expected to be 4.5% at the high-end of the range. 

Wolverine said it has diversified its supply chain away from China in recent years and, in 2020, China is expected to represent less than 20% of its global production, down from approximately 40% in fiscal 2019. The Group said it continues to monitor and adjust to the fluid coronavirus situation, and recognises that there could be additional future impact to the global supply chain or customer demand.