Skechers, Steve Madden, or Wolverine Worldwide: Which Footwear Company Had the Best Quarter?

Skechers (NYSE: SKX  ) , Steve Madden (NASDAQ: SHOO  ) , and Wolverine Worldwide (NYSE: WWW  ) are three of the largest footwear manufacturers and retailers in the world and they have all recently reported quarterly results. Let's take a deep look into the reports and find out which company had the best quarter and could provide the highest returns for investors going forward.

Source: Skechers' Facebook

The quarterly results
On Feb. 12, Skechers released its fourth-quarter report for fiscal 2013; here's an overview of the report and a year-over-year comparison:

Metric Reported Expected
Earnings Per Share $0.28 $0.16
Revenue $450.74 million $448.58 million

Source: Benzinga

  • Earnings per share increased 250%
  • Revenue increased 13.9%
  • Comparable-store sales increased 12.8%
  • Gross profit increased 19.1% to $200.65 million
  • Gross margin expanded 190 basis points to 44.5%
  • Other most notable statistic/update: Skechers received the 2013 Excellence in Design Awards for Running and Kids footwear by Footwear Plus and Skechers GO was named 2013's Brand of the Year by Footwear News; these are two leading trade magazines in the footwear industry.

Source: Steve Madden

Steve Madden released fourth-quarter results for fiscal 2013 on Jan. 25; here's a breakdown and a year-over-year comparison: 

Metric Reported Expected
Earnings Per Share $0.54 $0.54
Revenue $342.88 million $342.94 million

Source: Benzinga

  • Earnings per share increased 10.2%
  • Revenue increased 8.7%
  • Comparable-store sales decreased 6.7%
  • Gross profit increased 4.2% to $129.50 million
  • Gross margin declined 150 basis points to 37.8%
  • Other most notable statistic/update: The company opened two full-price retail stores, one outlet store, and one e-commerce store during the quarter, which brought its new totals to 121, 17, and four, respectively.

Source: Wolverine Worldwide

Wolverine Worldwide reported last out of these three, releasing its fourth-quarter report on Feb. 18; here's what the company accomplished and a year-over-year comparison:

Metric Reported Expected
Earnings Per Share $0.22 $0.20
Revenue $740.80 million $743.93 million

Source: Benzinga

  • Adjusted earnings per share decreased 8.3%
  • Revenue increased 13.6%
  • Comparable-store sales data was not provided
  • Gross profit increased 15% to $275.4 million
  • Gross margin expanded 50 basis points to 37.2%
  • Other most notable statistic/update: Fiscal 2013 marked the highest earnings-per-share results in the company's history and the fourth consecutive year of record revenue.

Source: Skechers USA

Outlook on the year ahead
Skechers did not provide its own outlook on fiscal 2014, but it did say that it is "comfortable with the consensus numbers" that are currently projected by analysts; here are those consensus estimates in comparison with 2013's results:

Metric 2014 Estimates 2013 Results
Earnings Per Share $1.83 $1.08
Revnue $2.09 billion $1.85 billion

Source: Estimize

These estimates would result in earnings per share increasing 69.4% and revenue increasing 13% from fiscal 2013. The company did add that it expects to open 60-70 new company-owned stores during the year, which will take advantage of the $372 million in cash on hand that it had at the end of the quarter. With the strength that Skechers' stores have shown over the last few quarters, the expansion plans aim to take full advantage of Skechers' growing popularity and this will likely drive sales to all-time highs. 

Source: Wikimedia Commons

In its report, Steve Madden provided its outlook on fiscal 2014; here's what the company expects to see in comparison with its 2013 results:

Metric 2014 Outlook 2013 Results
Earnings Per Share $2.05-$2.15 $1.98
Revenue $1.38 billion-$1.40 billion $1.31 billion

These expectations call for earnings per share to increase 3.5%-8.6% and revenue to increase 5%-7% from 2013; those results would be just below the 9.4% earnings growth and 7.1% revenue growth the company experienced from 2012 to 2013. Considering the weak comparable-store sales the company posted in the fourth quarter, this outlook actually looks quite positive for Steve Madden and it could allow for an easy earnings beat if customer traffic picks up.

Source: Wolverine Worldwide

In its report, Wolverine Worldwide gave a detailed outlook on the fiscal year ahead; here's what the company expects to see in comparison with its 2013 results:

Metric 2014 Outlook 2013 Results
Earnings Per Share $1.57-$1.63 $1.43
Revenue $2.775 billion-$2.85 billion $2.69 billion

These expectations would result in earnings per share increasing 9.8%-14% and revenue increasing 3.2%-6% from fiscal 2013. The company added that it expects its gross margin to expand slightly, which may push this margin beyond the 40% mark. Although this outlook would not result in high growth by any means, it would still propel Wolverine Worldwide to another record-setting yearly performance.

Source: Skechers USA

And the winner is...
After reviewing the quarterly earnings releases and outlooks on the fiscal year ahead, the winner of this three-way matchup is Skechers. It showed much higher growth during the most recent quarter and its outlook on 2014 calls for substantial growth. I believe the highlight of Skechers' quarter was the 12.8% comparable-store sales growth, because this was accomplished in the very challenging retail environment during the holiday season.

With the strength that Skechers showed in fiscal 2013, I believe the company can achieve the current outlook on 2014 projected by analysts and this will support a continued rally in the stock. Foolish investors should strongly consider initiating positions in Skechers on any weakness in the coming days and holding on to them for several years.

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