ROCKFORD, Mich., May 31, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Wolverine Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: WWW) today announced it has agreed to enter into a global, multi-year licensing agreement of the Stride Rite brand to Vida Shoes International. This license agreement and the newly created Wolverine Children's Group, which will focus on the growing children's business for the Company's portfolio of brands, are the next steps in the Company's WAY FORWARD strategic transformation aimed at enhancing the Company's consumer obsession, product innovation and financial performance in the near and long term. Closing of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions.
Under the agreement, Vida Shoes International will become the global Stride Rite brand licensee for footwear and other products, subject to existing licenses, and will design, develop and market innovative children's products under the iconic Stride Rite brand. Vida Shoes International is a leader in the children's footwear and fashion industry and plans to begin operations in July to grow the Stride Rite brand and to service and support the strong global base of Stride Rite retailers and distributors. The license will allow the Stride Rite brand to continue to expand and flourish and allow Wolverine to focus on the global potential of its powerful portfolio of performance and lifestyle brands.
"Wolverine has a long history of working with great partners to license and distribute our brands around the world," commented Blake Krueger, Wolverine's Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President. "Stride Rite is an iconic, premium children's footwear brand and this global partnership is the next stage in Stride Rite's nearly century-long history. Vida Shoes International shares our mission to design products that kids love, while offering parents fashionable and functional options for their children. We're confident they will be a great partner for Wolverine Worldwide and our Stride Rite brand."
The Company also announced the creation of the Wolverine Children's Group to develop and grow the children's category for its portfolio of industry-leading brands including Merrell®, Sperry®, Saucony®, Hush Puppies® and Keds®. To lead this effort, the Company has hired Bornie Del Priore as Vice President and General Manager of the Wolverine Children's Group. Ms. Del Priore has a strong leadership background and track record of growing global brands. She joins Wolverine Worldwide following senior leadership positions at Tommy Bahama Footwear, Tommy Hilfiger USA, Tommy Hilfiger Footwear and Ralph Lauren Footwear. Ms. Del Priore and the Wolverine Children's Group will report to Richie Woodworth, and will be able to lever Wolverine's significant global expertise in product, marketing, and distribution.
Mr. Krueger concluded, "Today's announcement is evidence of the tremendous progress we are continuing to make on our WOLVERINE WAY FORWARD transformation – to position the Company to drive deeper consumer connections, accelerate the global growth of our brands, and ultimately, deliver greater shareholder value."
ABOUT WOLVERINE WORLDWIDE
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, athletic, children's and uniform footwear and apparel. The Company's portfolio of highly recognized brands includes: Merrell®, Sperry®, Hush Puppies®, Saucony®, Wolverine®, Keds®, Stride Rite®, Sebago®, Chaco®, Bates®, HYTEST®, and Soft Style®. The Company also is the global footwear licensee of popular brands including Cat® and Harley-Davidson®. The Company's products are carried by leading retailers in the U.S. and globally in approximately 200 countries and territories. For additional information, please visit, www.wolverineworldwide.com.
ABOUT STRIDE RITE
Founded in 1919, Stride Rite combines heritage and knowledge, steeped in nearly 100 years in children's footwear, with a modern-day understanding of kids' every day adventures. Inspired by real life, Stride Rite prides itself on making great looking, high quality footwear, building strong consumer relationships and providing parents with the tools they need to find the best fitting shoe for their child. For additional information, please visit www.striderite.com.
ABOUT VIDA SHOES INTERNATIONAL
Since 1973, Vida Shoes International has been committed to becoming a global leader in the footwear industry. With more than 15 exciting brands across adult and children's markets, Vida Shoes is dedicated to designing, producing and marketing quality branded footwear using its expansive international resources. Its wealth of knowledge stems from the diversity of brands and successful products that have been produced year after year.
This press release contains forward-looking statements, including statements regarding: the Company's strategic plans, the consummation of the transactions contemplated by the announced transaction and the Company's realization of the benefits of the announced agreement. In addition, words such as "guidance," "estimates," "anticipates," "believes," "forecasts," "step," "plans," "predicts," "projects," "is likely," "expects," "intends," "should," "will," "confident," 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. Risk Factors include, among others: the transactions contemplated by the agreement may not be consummated, the Company may not realize the expected benefits of the announced agreement, changes in general economic conditions, employment rates, business conditions, interest rates, tax policies and other factors affecting consumer spending in the markets and regions in which the Company's products are sold; the inability for any reason to effectively compete in global footwear, apparel and consumer-direct markets; the inability to maintain positive brand images and anticipate, understand and respond to changing footwear and apparel trends and consumer preferences; the inability to effectively manage inventory levels; increases or changes in duties, tariffs, quotas or applicable assessments in countries of import and export; foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations; currency restrictions; capacity constraints, production disruptions, quality issues, price increases or other risks associated with foreign sourcing; the cost and availability of raw materials, inventories, services and labor for owned and contract manufacturers; labor disruptions; changes in relationships with, including the loss of, significant wholesale customers; the failure of the U.S. Department of Defense to exercise future purchase options or award new contracts, or the cancellation or modification of existing contracts by the Department of Defense or other military purchasers; risks related to the significant investment in, and performance of, the Company's consumer-direct operations; risks related to expansion into new markets and complementary product categories as well as consumer-direct operations; the impact of seasonality and unpredictable weather conditions; changes in general economic conditions and/or the credit markets on the Company's distributors, suppliers and customers; increase in the Company's effective tax rates; failure of licensees or distributors to meet planned annual sales goals or to make timely payments to the Company; the risks of doing business in developing countries, and politically or economically volatile areas; the ability to secure and protect owned intellectual property or use licensed intellectual property; the impact of regulation, regulatory and legal proceedings and legal compliance risks; the potential breach of the Company's databases, or those of its vendors, which contain certain personal information or payment card data; problems affecting the Company's distribution system, including service interruptions at shipping and receiving ports; strategic actions, including new initiatives and ventures, acquisitions and dispositions, and the Company's success in integrating acquired businesses, and implementing new initiatives and ventures; the risk of impairment to goodwill and other acquired intangibles; the success of the Company's consumer-direct realignment initiatives; changes in future pension funding requirements and pension expenses; and additional factors discussed in the Company's reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and exhibits thereto. The foregoing Risk Factors, as well as other existing Risk Factors and new Risk Factors that emerge from time to time, 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.
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SOURCE Wolverine Worldwide
Christopher Hufnagel, (616) 863-4865