By  on May 2, 2006

NEW YORK — Timberland Co. reported a 30.9 percent decline in first-quarter earnings on a slight decline in revenues, which it attributed to soft boot sales and negative foreign exchange impacts.

The company also guided second-quarter revenues to be down in the mid-single digits with an operating loss of $20 million to $25 million. Timberland cited in part the impact of anti-dumping duties on European Union footwear sourced in China and Vietnam.

In the three months ended March 31, the Stratham, N.H.-based company earned $29.2 million, or 45 cents a diluted share, matching analysts’ estimates. Comparatively, the company had a net profit of $42.3 million, or 61 cents, last year. Timberland noted that earnings-per-share in last year’s quarter would have been 58 cents when including costs related to stock options and its employee stock purchase plan.

“Gross margin pressures related to product mix changes and macro factors, investments in new business development, and cost growth related to new accounting requirements for equity-based compensation contributed to an overall decline in reported earnings,” Brian McKeon, chief financial officer of Timberland, said in a post-earnings conference call. “While we are pleased with our progress in developing Timberland’s global business portfolio, we expect continued pressure on our U.S. boot business this year and are advancing proactive steps in a concerted effort to protect our brand, enhance trade margins and ensure a strong long-term relationship with boot consumers.”

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