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Wolverine Will Be ‘Nimble’ in 2023

The new Unlikely Hikers collection from Wolverine brand Merrell highlights the idea that “one size does not fit all,” and includes footwear with wide widths, as well as apparel with extended sizing.

After a challenging 2022 that included staff cuts, the divestiture of its Keds business and various challenges to its sourcing, logistics, and warehousing operations, Wolverine Worldwide is looking for improving cash flow and profit performance to improve sequentially throughout 2023. But continued cost and inventory hangover issues are likely to persist during the year’s first half. 

The key priority for the Wolverine-owned brand Merrell, which is forecast to grow by mid-single digits this year, is an expansion of the brand’s lifestyle business. At Saucony, meanwhile, the go-forward strategy will focus on expanding the brand’s reach beyond core runners to everyday active and lifestyle consumers. The brand’s sales are forecast to increase by mid-single digits in FY23. Meanwhile, Sperry, the lone remaining brand within the company’s Lifestyle segment, will need to overcome issues that have plagued the brand’s progress recently, namely a slowdown in the boat shoe category and an inability to stay a step ahead of market trends. 

In FY22, Wolverine Worldwide’s net loss was $188.3 million versus a profit of $68.6 million despite 11.2 percent overall revenue growth to $2.68 billion. Merrell’s annual, year-over-year sales rose by 18 percent to $764 million; Saucony sales grew by 6 percent to $505 million and Sperry brand sales slipped 10 percent to $294 million as Wolverine brand sales increased by 9 percent to $248 million. Wholesale represented 74 percent of all revenues with Direct-To-Consumer accounting for the remaining 26 percent.