Rocky Brands reported a slight improvement its net profit to $0.5 million in the first quarter from $0.3 million in the same period a year ago as sales rose to $53.3 million from $52.3 million. Retail sales dropped to $10.5 million, but wholesale revenues grew by 6.5 percent to $42.4 million, with gains in the work, western and military boot segments. The gross margin was off to 33.8 percent from 36.8 percent because of lower mark-ups granted to a major U.S. account, but the operating margin increased to 2.4 percent, partly due to lower operating costs for the company's retail business.