John J. Shanley, footwear and athletic industries analyst at Wells Fargo Van Kasper, is initiating coverage on the shares of The Timberland Company with a Buy rating.

"We are initiating coverage on The Timberland Company with a Buy rating and a 12-month price target of $70.00. Timberland is the leading "brown shoe" brand in the US, and its significant international growth prospects lead us to conclude that the brand could attain a similar strong presence in its major overseas markets, particularly in Europe.

"The company's growth momentum in all three of its major business segments--US wholesale, US retail, and international - has consistently produced stellar top-line and operating performance growth rates for 18 straight quarters, a trend that we believe the company will continue to maintain well into CY02.

"We also believe that collectively the company's new merchandising and brand development initiatives - Mountain Athletics, Timberland PRO, and the recently acquired Timberland operations in Asia, including retail and wholesale - will allow the company's overall top- and bottom-line growth momentum to continue well past the time horizon of this research report."

Wells Fargo Van Kasper is a private brokerage and investment banking firm.