• Q4 net income rises to $2.5m on favourable comparisons 
  • Net sales fell 9.4% to $58.0m
  • Announces recently awarded military boot contract

Unseasonably warm weather weighed on the fourth quarter at Rocky Brands Inc, but the footwear and apparel maker is confident a new US military contract will help top-line growth in the first half of 2013.

During the three months to 31 December net income rose to $2.5m, helped by favourable comparisons with the prior year's $0.3m, which was hurt by a one-time charge of $3.7m.

Net sales fell 9.4% to $58.0m during the quarter, down from $64.0m a year ago. An 11% decline in wholesale sales to $46.0m was partially offset by a 1.7% rise in retail sales to $12.0m.

"Our fourth quarter performance reflects the challenges facing the more weather sensitive areas of our business as a second consecutive winter of mild temperatures tapered demand for insulated, waterproof boots," said David Sharp, president and chief executive officer.

"In an effort to mitigate the impact of weather and further diversify our operations, we've been developing new product lines with good success evidenced by the increase in Durango lifestyle and western sales which were both up 44% in 2012.

"Based on the momentum of these two categories, combined with other growth vehicles, including a private label programme with one of our largest wholesale accounts and a recently awarded military contract, we believe we are well positioned to generate solid top-line expansion in the first half of 2013."

For the full year profit was $8.9m, compared with $8.3m a year ago, and net sales slipped 4.7% to $228.3m from $239.6m.

The company also said it has received a US military order to produce 'Hot Weather' combat boots, with shipment due to begin in March. The first year of the contract commits to purchases of between $3.0m and $15.0m.