Wolverine Worldwide told analysts at the Baird 2020 Global Consumer, Technology, and Services Conference on June 4 that its sales were better than expected in the first nine weeks of its second quarter, falling by less than 50 percent overall.
The impact of the coronavirus-related retail lockdown was partly offset by a growth of more than 90 percent in the group’s own e-commerce operations as compared to the same period a year ago, representing more than 40 percent of revenues during the period. Merrell, Saucony and work footwear brands like Wolverine and Cat Footwear led this performance with triple-digit growth in e-commerce.
In Europe, the gradual reopening of retail stores ahead of the U.S. benefited the group’s running and outdoor performance footwear products more than other categories. Wholesale clients in the U.S. reported double-digit growth in their own online sales of the group’s products during the nine-week period, after a few initial weeks of decline. Their retail sales went down during the quarter, but they steadily improved during the period, leading to higher-than-expected reorders. Some of the U.S. clients in the farm, work and outdoor performance sectors remained open during the Covid-19 pandemic shutdown.
Overall, the second quarter will be the “most challenging” one for Wolverine in the current financial year, but it should still generate more than $20 million in operating cash flow.