Apparel and footwear maker Wolverine World Wide Inc today (18 April) posted a 13.8% hike in its first quarter profits, despite the first quarter impact of European anti-dumping duties, and increased its full year 2007 earnings per share estimate.

The Rockford, Michigan-based company said net income for the three months ended 24 March increased to $22.3m, or 39 cents per share, from $19.6m, or 34 cents per share, in the previous year.

The company, whose brands include Hush Puppies, Merrell, Sebago and Wolverine, said revenues rose 6.9% to a record $281.1m for the first quarter of 2007, compared to $262.8m in the same period last year.

Blake W Krueger, president and COO, said revenue gains were posted by the Outdoor Footwear Group, the Heritage Brands Group, and Hush Puppies.

In contrast, the Wolverine Footwear Group was negatively impacted in the quarter due to a planned decrease in its military contract business.

First quarter 2007 gross margin of 40.6% improved 30 basis points over first quarter 2006, reflecting "continued growth in our lifestyle brands and an improved business mix," according to the company's CFO, Stephen L Gulis Jr.
The company increased its 2007 earnings per share estimate to range from $1.57 to $1.63, up from our previous estimate of $1.56 to $1.62.