Wolverine World Wide, Inc. Announces Strategic Restructuring Plan



    
    Consolidation of Certain Operations and Reduction of Staffing and Fixed
    Costs Expected to Result in Annualized Pretax Benefit of $17 Million to
$19
    Million

    
    ROCKFORD, Mich., Jan. 8 /CNW/ -- Wolverine World Wide, Inc. (NYSE:   WWW)
today announced a strategic restructuring plan designed to create significant
operating efficiencies, improve its supply chain and create a stronger global
brand platform.  This plan represents the second phase of a top-to-bottom
strategic review of the Company's branded businesses and related
infrastructure.  The first phase of this review resulted in Wolverine's
decision over a year ago to exit several non-core businesses.
    The restructuring plan includes: consolidation of key distribution and
global operations functions; realignment of the Company's domestic
manufacturing operations; consideration of a range of alternatives for the
Company-owned leather business; and a corporate cost-reduction program.  The
Company estimates pretax charges related to the restructuring plan will range
from $31 million to $36 million.  The Company will record these charges
throughout 2009 as it executes specific initiatives.  Approximately $9 million
to $10 million of this estimate represents non-cash charges.  When fully
implemented, the Company expects the restructuring plan will result in a net
reduction of approximately 450 positions and will generate an annualized
pretax benefit in the range of $17 million to $19 million.
    "Strong and resilient companies continually assess their operating model
and related infrastructure, and make changes to stay ahead of the curve," said
Blake W. Krueger, Chief Executive Officer and President.  "The initiatives
announced today position Wolverine for continued success by improving our
supply chain, enhancing customer responsiveness and streamlining our
operations.  As a Company, we pride ourselves on our strong team and do not
take these workforce and cost reductions lightly.  We will ensure that all
those impacted will be treated with the utmost respect and receive our
assistance with their transition.
    "Wolverine is a dynamic global company with a 125-year heritage, and we
have the right brands, the right products and the right team to weather the
current economic storm and emerge as a more powerful force in our industry. We
are confident that the restructuring plan announced today is the right balance
of actions, and positions the Company well for future growth."
    The specific action items included in this global restructuring
initiative include:
    - Realigning U.S. manufacturing operations to better support Bates
military footwear production.
    - Consolidating North American distribution operations into existing
Michigan warehouses and consolidating the Company's European distribution
operations into one facility.
    - Evaluating strategic alternatives for the Company's leather business,
which will likely result in the outsourcing of leather processing and the
closure of its Rockford, Michigan-based tanning facility.
    - Implementing workforce reductions among both salaried and hourly staff
in order to focus business processes and improve overall efficiency.
    In addition to the actions noted above, the Company is reducing other
operating costs to better align its infrastructure with current and
anticipated business conditions, including freezing salaries for non-union
employees.
    The ranges of pretax charges by major category that are expected in
connection with the restructuring plan are summarized in the following table:

    
                                                          Estimated Range
                                                           (in millions)
    

    
    Severance and employee-related costs           $     14          $     15
    Non-cash charges related to property
     and equipment                                        9                10
    Facility exit costs                                   5                 6
    Consulting and other costs                            2                 3
    Other non-recurring transition costs                  1                 2
    

    
    Total charges                                  $     31          $     36
    
    Charges associated with the strategic restructuring initiative will be
incurred in and recorded over the course of 2009 as specific initiatives are
executed, the estimated timing of which is summarized in the following table:


    
                                                           Estimated Range
                                                            (in millions)
    

    
    First Quarter   2009                           $     14          $     16
    Second Quarter  2009                                  8                 9
    Third Quarter   2009                                  3                 4
    Fourth Quarter  2009                                  6                 7
    

    
    Total charges                                  $     31          $     36
    
    Krueger concluded, "Wolverine is very strong financially and has a solid
balance sheet.  We have consistently delivered exceptional financial results,
posting record revenue and earnings per share for each of the last seven
years, and have generated strong cash flow from operations during that same
period.  We believe the actions taken today will not only improve our
operating model but also strengthen our market position globally."
    The Company will host a conference call at 11:00 a.m. EST today to
discuss this comprehensive restructuring plan.  To listen to the call at the
Company's website, go to wolverineworldwide.com, click on "Investors" in the
navigation bar, and then click "Webcast" from the top navigation bar of the
"Investors" page.  To listen to the webcast, your computer must have Windows
Media Player, which can be downloaded for free on the Wolverine World Wide
website.  In addition, the conference call can be heard at
www.streetevents.com.  A replay of the call will be available at the Company's
website through January 15, 2009.
    With a commitment to service and product excellence, Wolverine World
Wide, Inc. is one of the world's leading marketers of branded casual, active
lifestyle, work, outdoor sport and uniform footwear and apparel.  The
Company's portfolio of highly recognized brands includes: Bates(R), Hush
Puppies(R), Merrell(R), Sebago(R) and Wolverine(R).  The Company is also the
exclusive footwear licensee of popular brands including CAT(R), Harley-
Davidson(R) and Patagonia(R). The Company's products are carried by leading
retailers in the U.S. and globally in nearly 200 countries and territories.
For additional information, please visit our website,
www.wolverineworldwide.com.
    This press release contains forward-looking statements, including those
relating to the projected annualized pretax benefits and the amount and timing
of pretax charges associated with the Company's 2009 strategic restructuring
plan. In addition, words such as "estimates," "expects," "intends," "should,"
"will," variations of such words and similar expressions are intended to
identify forward-looking statements. These statements are not guarantees of
future performance and involve certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions
("Risk Factors") that are difficult to predict with regard to timing, extent,
likelihood and degree of occurrence. Therefore, actual results and outcomes
may materially differ from what may be expressed or forecasted in such
forward-looking statements.  Risk Factors include, among others:  the
Company's ability to successfully implement the 2009 strategic restructuring
plan; changes in duty structures in countries of import and export including
anti-dumping measures in Europe with respect to leather footwear imported from
China and Vietnam and safety footwear imported from China and India; trade
defense actions by countries; changes in consumer preferences or spending
patterns; cancellation of orders for future delivery; changes in planned
customer demand, re-orders or at-once orders; the availability and pricing of
foreign footwear factory capacity; reliance on foreign sourcing; regulatory or
other changes affecting the supply of materials used in manufacturing; the
availability of power, labor and resources in key foreign sourcing countries,
including China; the impact of competition and pricing; the impact of changes
in the value of foreign currencies, including the Chinese Yuan, and the
relative value to the U.S. Dollar; integration and operation of newly acquired
and licensed businesses; the development of new initiatives; the development
of apparel; retail buying patterns; consolidation in the retail sector;
changes in economic and market conditions; acts and effects of war and
terrorism; weather; and additional factors discussed in the Company's reports
filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and exhibits thereto. Other
Risk Factors exist, and new Risk Factors emerge from time to time that may
cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-
looking statements. Given these risks and uncertainties, investors should not
place undue reliance on forward-looking statements as a prediction of actual
results.  Furthermore, the Company undertakes no obligation to update, amend
or clarify forward-looking statements.




For further information:

For further information: Christi Cowdin of Wolverine World Wide, Inc.,
+1-616-866-6271 Web Site: http://www.wolverineworldwide.com

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WOLVERINE WORLD WIDE, INC.

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