Sweaty Betty to further leverage global centers of excellence and streamline operations
Wolverine World Wide, Inc. (NYSE: WWW), which operates one of the world’s largest portfolios of lifestyle and footwear brands, announced today actions intended to improve operating performance, fuel global growth, and enable future investments into Sweaty Betty, a global premium women’s activewear brand acquired in August 2021.
Sweaty Betty will now report into Wolverine Worldwide’s London-based International Group, which is responsible for the Company’s operations outside the United States. This move will more closely align Sweaty Betty with Wolverine’s global centers of excellence.
“Bringing Sweaty Betty under Isabel Soriano and the International Group fits perfectly with our strategy to prioritize resources and support to the brands with the biggest global growth opportunities,” said Brendan Hoffman, Wolverine Worldwide’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our regional teams have deep commercial experience in key international markets and are well-positioned to bring their sourcing, logistics, technology, and operational expertise to help accelerate Sweaty Betty’s growth.”
As part of this transition, several opportunities have been identified to better align Sweaty Betty’s cost structure to Wolverine’s other brands and enable future investments. These include consolidating London office space, securing savings through Wolverine’s new Profit Improvement Office, and proposing a UK workforce reduction. The expected impact of these actions is reflected in the Company’s 2023 guidance.
“These decisions were not taken lightly but are necessary in order to position Sweaty Betty for long-term success,” said Julia Straus, CEO of Sweaty Betty. As previously announced, Straus will be leaving the business in June 2023 and returning to the United States to be closer to family. A search for her successor is already underway.
Isabel Soriano, President of Wolverine Worldwide’s International Group, added: “I am excited about the future opportunities for Sweaty Betty, leveraging the full resources and expertise of our global team to support and enable the brand’s mission to empower women around the world through fitness and beyond. I look forward to partnering with Julia as we work through this transition over the coming months.”
ABOUT WOLVERINE WORLDWIDE
Founded in 1883 on the belief in the possibility of opportunity, Wolverine World Wide, Inc. (NYSE:WWW) is one of the world’s leading marketers and licensors of branded casual, active lifestyle, work, outdoor sport, athletic, children's and uniform footwear and apparel. Through a diverse portfolio of highly recognized brands, our products are designed to empower, engage and inspire our consumers every step of the way. The Company’s portfolio includes Merrell®, Saucony®, Sperry®, Sweaty Betty®, Hush Puppies®, Wolverine®, Chaco®, Bates®, HYTEST®, and Stride Rite®. Wolverine Worldwide is also the global footwear licensee of the popular brands Cat® and Harley-Davidson®. Based in Rockford, Michigan, for more than 130 years, the Company's products are carried by leading retailers in the U.S. and globally in approximately 170 countries and territories. For additional information, please visit our website, www.wolverineworldwide.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements, including statements regarding the Company’s expectations with respect to: the Company's strategies to prioritize resources and support to certain brands and to accelerate Sweaty Betty’s growth; profit improvement initiatives; plans to improve Sweaty Betty’s cost structure and enable future investments in the brand; and plans to find a new leader for the Sweaty Betty brand. In addition, words such as “estimates,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “forecasts,” “step,” “plans,” “predicts,” “focused,” “projects,” “outlook,” “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 risk that the Company will be able to successfully implement its growth and profit improvement strategies; the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Company’s business, operations, financial results and liquidity, including the duration and magnitude of such effects, which will depend on numerous evolving factors that the Company cannot currently accurately predict or assess, including: the duration and scope of the pandemic; the negative impact on global and regional markets, economies and economic activity, including the duration and magnitude of its impact on unemployment rates, consumer discretionary spending and levels of consumer confidence; actions governments, businesses and individuals take in response to the pandemic; the effects of the pandemic, including all of the foregoing, on the Company’s distributors, manufacturers, suppliers, joint venture partners, wholesale customers and other counterparties, and how quickly economies and demand for the Company’s products recover after the pandemic subsides; changes in general economic conditions, employment rates, business conditions, interest rates, tax policies, inflationary pressures 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 direct-to-consumer 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; supply chain or other 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 contract manufacturers; labor disruptions; changes in relationships with, including the loss of, significant wholesale customers; 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; 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 retailers; increases 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, including compliance with federal, state and local laws and regulations relating to the protection of the environment, environmental remediation and other related costs, and litigation or other legal proceedings relating to the protection of the environment or environmental effects on human health; the potential breach of the Company’s databases or other systems, or those of its vendors, which contain certain personal information, payment card data or proprietary information, due to cyberattack or other similar events; problems affecting the Company’s supply chain or 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 intangibles; 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 or other 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.
Dave Latchana, +1 (616) 863-4226