April 26, 2012 / 8:20 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 3-Deckers Outdoor cuts forecast as margins dip

* Q1 EPS $0.20 vs est $0.25

* Sees FY EPS down 9-10 pct vs prior flat earnings outlook

* Shares down 15 pct in extended trade

By Arpita Mukherjee

April 26 (Reuters) - Shoe maker Deckers Outdoor Corp slashed its full-year earnings forecast as it expects its margins to take a hit from high sheepskin costs.

The company’s shares fell 15 percent to $58.77 after market. The stock closed at $69.46 on Thursday on the Nasdaq.

Deckers said it expects 2012 earnings per share to decrease about 9 percent to 10 percent, compared with its prior forecast of flat earnings.

Deckers, which also reported lower-than-expected quarterly results due to a dip in margins, said sheepskin costs were up as much as 40 percent this year from 2011 levels.

The Goleta, California-based company now expects gross margins to fall 250 basis points in 2012, compared with its previous forecast of a fall of 200 basis points.

Gross margins fell to 46 percent in the first quarter from 50 percent in the year-ago period on rising product costs and higher sales of its lower-priced Teva brand and non-classic UGG brands, Deckers said in a statement.

The company also said sales of its UGG boots, which have been spurring growth at the company for the past several quarters, will rise by about 10 percent in the year, down from its previous guidance of about an 11 percent rise.

Boot sales are typically strong in January and February but this year orders fell due to the mild winter weather, the company said.

The second mildest U.S. winter on record has hurt sales of coats, sweaters and boots at many retailers.

First-quarter profit fell to $7.9 million, or 20 cents per share, from $19.2 million, or 49 cents per share, last year.

The company, which competes with Skechers USA Inc and VF Corp’s Timberland, said revenue rose 20 percent to $246.3 million.

Analysts had expected the company to earn 25 cents per share on revenue of $246.5 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Inventories rose 94.6 percent to $208.5 million as of March 31.

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