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Stride Rite, Keds owner Wolverine World Wide to shut 140 stores

Wolverine World Wide Inc., the maker of several

Wolverine World Wide Inc., the maker of several shoe brands, including Stride Rite and Keds, said July 16, 2014, that it will close about 140 stores worldwide in the next 18 months, about 60 of them by year end. Credit: Keds

ROCKFORD, Mich. - Wolverine World Wide Inc., the maker of Stride Rite and Keds shoes, said it plans to shut  about 140 stores during the next 18 months and focus on selling more of its footwear online.

The company also cut its earnings and revenue outlook for the year, and its shares fell in afternoon trading Tuesday.

About 60 stores will close by the end of the year, and the rest will close by the end of 2015. Wolverine said most of the closures will be Stride Rite stores. It didn't identify which stores would be closed. As of March, it operated 463 stores around the world.

The company said it also plans to shake up its store operations and make other organizational changes to its business. Because of the strategic realignment, the company expects to record charges between $30 million and $37 million from now until the end of fiscal year 2015. It expects to save about $11 million a year after its plan is implemented. It wants to use that money to invest in its websites and sell shoes on mobile devices.

Wolverine, which is based in Rockford, Michigan, makes several brands of shoes and boots, including Merrell, Hush Puppies, Sperry Top-Sider, Keds and Sebago. In a conference call with analysts, its chief financial officer said its Keds brand is growing quickly because of a partnership with pop star Taylor Swift.

For the full year, Wolverine said it expects earnings now between $1.32 per share and $1.38 per share, down from its previous forecast between $1.48 per share and $1.54 per share. It now expects revenue of $2.775 billion, the lower end of its previous range between $2.775 billion and $2.85 billion. Analysts expect earnings of $1.61 per share and revenue of $2.78 billion for the year, according to FactSet.

In early trading Wednesday, Wolverine shares were down 64 cents, about 2.5 percent, at $25.

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