Outdoor and work apparel and footwear maker Rocky Brands has posted a 33.1% increase in net profit during its first quarter, despite recording a drop in retail and military sales.

For the three months ended 31 March, profit reached US$720,687. Income from operations was up 23.5% to $1.3m.

Net sales climbed 1.9% to $53.3m. Wholesale sales were up 6.5%, while retail sales were down 10.3% and military segment sales slumped to $400,000 from $800,000 the year before.

David Sharp, president and CEO, said the company's top-line performance was driven by its wholesale division, gains in work and western segments, and the expansion of its commercial military business.

"New product introductions continue to fuel growth and are leading to additional distribution with both new and existing accounts," he said.

"We are encouraged by the current pace of our business and based on our fall order book we expect our sales momentum to carry through the remainder of the year," he added.

However, gross margin dropped to $18m in the quarter, down from $19.3m in the same period last year. The decrease was primarily driven by lower initial mark-ups associated with the rollout to all locations of one of its largest national accounts, the company said.