Skechers’ European sales increased overall by 16.9 percent to $46.0 million in the 1st quarter. Total wholesale revenues outside the USA rose to $47.4 million from $40.6 million in the year-ago period, and foreign retail sales were up by 18.7 percent. Lower sales to distributors were offset by a 35.2 percent boost to $31.9 million in the revenues of Skechers’ direct subsidiaries abroad. The subsidiaries in Italy, Spain and Benelux posted the highest increases, but Germany and the UK had strong increases as well, and sales improved also in France, which did not do well in 2004.

The company’s total consolidated sales rose by 11.2 percent to $246.2 million in the quarter. Wholesale deliveries in the USA rose by 7.0 percent in volume to 9.3 million pairs, with a 2.5 percent gain in the average selling price to $16.58 per pair. US retail sales improved by 9.4 percent to $43.0 million, with double-digit gains on a same-store basis at several locations.

The gross margin improved to 41.1 percent from 40.5 percent in the year-ago period. Net profit rose to $10.27 million from $7.05 million. Company officials have not confirmed or denied negotiations for the possible takeover of AND 1, a major American brand of basketball shoes.