Rocky Brands, Inc. ( RCKY)

Q1 2011 Earnings Conference Call

April 26, 2011 16:30 ET

Executives

Brendon Frey – ICR, Inc.

Mike Brooks – Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Jim McDonald – Chief Financial Officer

David Sharp – President and Chief Operating Officer

Analysts

Reed Anderson – D.A. Davidson

Mitch Kummetz – Robert W. Baird

Presentation

Operator

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and thank you for standing by. Welcome to the Rocky Brands First Quarter Fiscal 2011 Earnings Conference Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Following the presentation, we will conduct a question-and-answer session. Instructions will be provided at that time for you to queue up for questions. (Operator Instructions) I would like to remind everyone that this conference call is being recorded.

And we’ll now turn the conference over to Brendon Frey of ICR.

Brendon Frey – ICR, Inc.

Thanks. Before we begin, please note that today’s discussion including the Q&A period may contain forward-looking statements as defined by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements are based on information and assumptions available at this time and are subject to change recent uncertainties, which may cause actual results to differ materially. We assume no obligation to update such statements. For a complete discussion of the risks and uncertainties, please refer to today’s press release and reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission including Rocky’s Form 10-K for the year ended December 31 st, 2010.

I’ll now turn the conference over to Mr. Mike Brooks, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

Mike Brooks – Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you and thanks for everyone for joining us this afternoon. With me on today’s call are David Sharp, President and Chief Operating Officer and Jim McDonald, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer.

Thanks everyone for joining us on today’s call. We are very pleased with our first quarter results, which represent a very good start to the year. Our performance highlights the emphasis we have put on profitably growing our business by focusing on the expansion opportunities of our higher margin company-owned brands, reducing our retail operation, restructuring our retail operation, and reducing our debt commitment.

As expected, total sales were down year-over-year due to a $4.4 million decline in sales to the military as we completed nearly all of our current orders under our GSA contract prior to the first quarter. In addition, there were approximately $1.7 million in licensed Dickies business during the year ago period then we did not anniversary that agreement expired at the end of 2010. However, we were able to replace all of the loss Dickies sales with gains in our Rocky brand both in Work and Hunting categories, our Georgia Boot, work boot brand, and our western brand, Durango.

This was achieved through a combination of unit growth and higher average selling prices. Coupled with better than expected growth from our new commercial military business, we were able to grow our wholesale segment 5% year-over-year and do so at much better margins. This helped our earnings per share improved to $0.07 from a loss of $0.10, despite a $0.07 drop in overall sales and the fact that we had 33% more shares outstanding versus the same period a year ago.

Another factor was the operating results in our retail segment. Despite sales off slightly from a year ago, the profitability improved meaningfully. Thanks to an increase in gross margins and higher selling prices and lower expenses as a greater percentage of sales. We’re transitioned via the Internet and direct shift from our warehouse versus our fleet of mobile stores.

Finally, perhaps most notably, our interest expenses were $4.4 million less than it was a year ago as a result of a successful recapitalization effort over the past 12 months.

To underscore our funded debt at the end of March was down more than 41%, $19 million to $27.8 million versus from $46.7 million the same date last year. Not only are the interest rates more favorable under this new facility, we signed last October, but the free cash flow that historically was used to service our debt obligation is now being redirected towards working capital purposes, thus reducing our borrowing needs throughout the year. We really started to see the benefits of our hard work during the back half of 2010. As I said on our fourth quarter earnings call things begin to fall in to place nicely after several years of both internal and external challenges.

Our first quarter results are a continuation of these trends and based on the sales, marketing and product strategies that we have in place. I anticipate we will be able to drive year-over-year wholesale growth and improve earnings during the remaining quarters of 2011.

I will now turn the call over to Jim to review the financials.

Jim McDonald – Chief Financial Officer

Thanks Mike. Net sales for the first quarter were $52.3 million compared to $56.1 million for the corresponding period a year ago. Wholesale sales for the first quarter increased 5% to $39.8 million compared to $37.9 million last year. The sales increase was driven by growth of our Work and Hunting company-owned brands which more than offset the $1.7 million decline in our Dickies licensed business.

Retail sales for the first quarter were $11.7 million compared to $12.9 million a year ago. Finally, military segment sales decreased $4.4 million to $800,000 compared to $5.2 million for the same period in 2010. The decrease in military sales was attributable to the completion of our initial order under our contract with the GSA before the start of this year.

Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com

If you liked this article you might like

Insider Trading Alert - UBSH, RCKY And TESO Traded By Insiders

Insider Trading Alert - UBSH, RCKY And TESO Traded By Insiders

Insider Trading Alert - RNST, MA And RCKY Traded By Insiders

Insider Trading Alert - RNST, MA And RCKY Traded By Insiders

3 Big-Volume Stocks Triggering Breakout Trades

3 Big-Volume Stocks Triggering Breakout Trades

Insider Trading Alert - RCKY, BRKR And NPK Traded By Insiders

Insider Trading Alert - RCKY, BRKR And NPK Traded By Insiders

Insider Trading Alert - CSOD, RCKY And CHH Traded By Insiders

Insider Trading Alert - CSOD, RCKY And CHH Traded By Insiders