Weyco ( WEYS) posted a small rise in first-quarter earnings despite a slide in sales.

The Milwaukee-based shoemaker earned $5.2 million, or 43 cents a share, in the quarter ended March 31, compared with $5.15 million, or 44 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue, though, slipped to $57.8 million from $61.7 million a year ago.

Weyco said wholesale revenue dropped 8.5% year-over-year to $50 million, as sales of the Nunn Bush brand dropped 18%. The company also said it decided during the latest quarter to discontinue the FLS subbrand, contributing to a 6% sales decline at Florsheim.

"While we are disappointed in the overall sales decrease in our wholesale business, we are encouraged that despite this decline we were able to maintain our overall profitability," said CEO Tom Florsheim. "Our retail division continues to perform well and our licensing revenues continue to grow.

"The decision to discontinue the Florsheim FLS brand is consistent with our overall strategy to position Florsheim in better department stores and specialty shoe stores," he added. "While our volume may suffer in the short-term, we feel that in the long run this will better enable us to achieve that goal.

The company said discontinuing the FLS subbrand will cut 2005 Florsheim sales by around $5.5 million.

After surging 10% to $20 during regular trading Friday, Weyco shares retreated to $18.73 in postclose action.

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