TIMBERLAND NET EARNINGS CLIMB 87% IN 1ST QUARTER

NEW YORK — Bolstered by double-digit increases in footwear, apparel and accessories, The Timberland Co. reported net earnings for the first quarter ended March 31 rose 87 percent to $14.7 million, or 69 cents per diluted share, from $7.8 million, or 34 cents, in the year-ago period.
Revenues for the Stratham, N.H, marketer of footwear, apparel and accessories increased more modestly, growing 17.9 percent to $208.6 million from $176.9 million in the 1999 quarter.
“A strong footwear product offering, combined with apparel sales growth in our U.S. retail stores and internationally, drove much of Timberland’s first-quarter revenue growth,” said Jeffrey B. Swartz, president and chief executive, in a statement.
He added that the company is “well positioned” to attain its objectives for the full year of double-digit revenue growth, higher growth in earnings and positive cash flow.
Domestic revenues were up 20.5 percent, to $126.9 million, while international sales moved up 14.1 percent to $81.7 million.
Results for the current year reflect the acquisition of four Asian subsidiaries from Inchcape PLC, its distributor in the Asia-Pacific region.
Excluding the impact of this purchase, international revenues would have been ahead 5.4 percent, although that figure would have risen to 15.1 percent without unfavorable currency fluctuations.
Worldwide footwear revenue reached $155.4 million, 19 percent above the 1999 quarter, while apparel and accessories were up nearly as much, 18.8 percent, to $50.6 million.
The acquisition of the Asian subsidiaries helped bolster worldwide retail revenue 45.5 percent, to $47.4 million. Excluding the acquisition, the increase in worldwide revenues would be trimmed to 31.2 percent. Domestic retail revenues were up 31.3 percent, to $34.1 million, and same-store sales in the U.S. grew by 12.5 percent.
The Asian acquisition contributed to a decline in royalty income, which decreased 29.0 percent to $2.6 million.
Swartz pointed out that gross margins were up 4.4 percent, for the company’s fifteenth consecutive quarter of record revenues and improved earnings.
In another development, Brian McKeon has joined Timberland as senior vice president and chief financial officer. Formerly vice president and chief financial officer for Pepsi-Cola North America, McKeon is responsible for finance, strategic planning, legal and human resources.
He reports directly to Swartz and succeeds Geoff Hibner, who has left the company.
Timberland’s stock closed unchanged last Thursday at 64 3/4, close to its 52-week high of 67 7/16. Its low for the past year was 30.