Stride Rite Corp.’s total sales grew by 6.1 percent to $194.7 million in the 1st quarter ended March 2, and on an organic basis they were up by 2.3 percent. Turnover was boosted by the group’s acquisition of Robeez last year, which added $7.1 million to quarterly sales. The gross margin improved by 90 basis points to 40.8 percent.

Net income climbed by 33.9 percent to $11.1 million, thanks mostly to a pre-tax expense of $2.6 million in the year-ago period, related to the acquisition of Saucony. This was slightly offset by a pre-tax cost of $0.3 million stemming from the purchase of Robeez.

Sales outside of the USA increased by 2.1 percent to $23.3 million, with Keds growing well in Canada, Europe and Australia. Overall Keds’ turnover was down by 9.3 percent to $38.1 million. Saucony’s turnover rose by 6.3 percent to $22.5 million. The company has been diversifying the brand’s product offering, with entry-level models priced at $50 and with more technical shoes selling for $100-120.

The revenues of Sperry Top-Sider were up by 10.3 percent to $26.0 million. They grew by 3.6 percent to $15.5 million for Tommy Hilfiger Footwear. Hind’s turnover fell by 30.8 percent to $2.4 million. The revenues of the Stride Rite children’s group increased by 8.5 percent to $64.1 million, with the wholesale side declining by 0.8 percent to $21.0 million and the retail side climbing by 13.7 percent to $43.1 million.

At the end of the quarter, the group had 322 retail stores, including 15 Saucony shops. Stride Rite Corp. plans to open about 27 Stride Rite doors this year, while closing seven Stride outlets and six Saucony stores. The group continues to expect full-year sales to grow by 5-8 percent.