• FY net earnings of US$61.9m
  • Revenues decline 6.7%
  • Merrell performs well

Footwear and apparel maker Wolverine World Wide has blamed the challenging economic environment for a 35.4% drop in full-year earnings.

The company posted FY net earnings of US$61.9m, compared to $95.8m the year before.

For the year ended 2 January, the company's revenue was US$1.139bn, a decline of 6.7%.

For the fourth quarter, net earnings fell 30.7% to $16.7m, while revenues dropped 9.7% to $312.5m.

Nevertheless, chairman and CEO Blake W Krueger said: "We are extremely pleased with our performance in 2009, particularly considering the challenging economic environment that existed all year.

"Bright spots in the quarter included our retail division, both our brick-and-mortar and e-commerce businesses, and our Merrell business.

"We believe the geographic, brand and distribution channel diversity of our business structure provides a competitive advantage in any economic climate."

The company also said its Cushe and Chaco brands, which were acquired in early 2009, "exceeded our expectations."

Gross margin for the full year was 39.7%, almost flat with last year's 39.8%. And year-end inventory was down $38.7m, or 19.7%.

Click here to view the company's full financial release.