Work Footwear Fuels Rocky Brands

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Ongoing strength in the Direct-To-Consumer channel was supplemented in the fourth quarter by more than 20 percent growth in Rocky’s wholesale business—that was spearheaded by Work and Western footwear. Georgia Boot sales rose 18 percent, helped by sales momentum at key retailers Tractor Supply, Boot Barn and many small independent accounts. There have been improving trends within the work segment since last spring, allowing the company to continue signing up new accounts for its Lehigh Safety Shoe business and resume onsite iFit events for employees. Meanwhile, Rocky executives say the company’s proposed acquisition of Honeywell’s lifestyle business will enable it to further grow its work business and expand into new footwear segments focused on the commercial fishing, outdoor, camping and recreational fishing. The two primary brands being acquired are the Original Muck Boot Company and XTRATUF. Muck accounted for an estimated two-thirds of the Honeywell unit’s $205 million in 2020 annual sales. The transaction is expected to close this month.

On the sourcing front, Rocky executives confirm manufacturing operations in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic are each running at 100 percent capacity. Last year, Rocky manufactured an estimated 40 percent of the products it sold. In H2/20, the company was forced to adjust productivity to keep up with demand and compensate for some suppliers who found their shipping hampered due to COVID-19 restrictions.