Wolverine World Wide
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|Traded as||NYSE: WWW
S&P 600 Component
|Founder||G. A. Krause and Fredrick Hirth|
|Headquarters||Rockford, Michigan, U.S.|
|Blake Krueger, CEO|
Hytest Safety Footwear
Wolverine Boots and ShoesKeds
Wolverine World Wide, Inc. or Wolverine Worldwide is an American footwear manufacturer based in Rockford, Michigan, known for their own brand, Wolverine Boots and Shoes, as well as their subsidiaries such as Hush Puppies and Merrell. The company also manufactures footwear for other companies, such as Caterpillar and Harley-Davidson, as well as shoes and boots for the military. In 2012, Wolverine World Wide added Saucony, Keds, Stride Rite and Sperry Top-Sider to their list of subsidiaries after a joint agreement with Blum Capital Partners and Golden Gate Capital acquired the Performance Lifestyle Group of Collective Brands for US$1.23 billion.
Founding and early years (1883 to 1959)
The company was founded in 1883 by G. A. Krause and Fredrick Hirth. Fredrick Hirth and Mr. Krause bought a small leather shop in Grand Rapids Michigan. They started with a capital investment of $2,900. In 1901 they decided to build a plant in Rockford Michigan, just north of Grand Rapids. They purchased and expanded the Rogue River Electric Light and Power Company to power their new plant and the city of Rockford. In 1903, operations began and in 1908 a tannery followed. The company now processed its own raw materials, and manufactured its own shoes sold through the Hirth-Krause Company. In 1921 the company changed its name to Wolverine Shoe and Tanning Corporation.From 1916-1923 its earnings increased 700%. [Wolverine World Wide booklet 11/1/1983 "A Tradition of Success"]
In 1941 during World War II, the Wolverine Shoe and Tanning Company began to work for the U.S. Navy, developing pigskin gloves and inventing what later became known as pigskin suede.
Name change & expansion (1960 to 1989)
In 1964 the company changed its name to Wolverine Worldwide, Inc. and in 1965 became a publicly traded company listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Hush Puppies, a casual footwear brand founded by the company, quickly rose to popularity in the 1960s.
Growth & Acquisitions (1990s and 2000s)
In 1994 Wolverine Worldwide introduced Cat Footwear, a licensed brand of shoes using the Caterpillar Inc. name. In 1995 Hush Puppies were voted Fashion Accessory of the Year by the Council of Fashion Designers of America. In 1997 the company continues expanding and purchases the Merrell brand and acquired the global license for footwear from the Harley-Davidson Motor Company. These acquisitions were followed by the purchase of Sebago in 2003 and Chaco in 2009. and UK-based brand Cushe.
The company sources a majority of its footwear from numerous third-party manufacturers in Asia Pacific and South America.
By 2016, the company operated 294 retail stores globally.
- "Saucony, Keds and Sperry Acquired by Wolverine Worldwide". Inside Insight. 2012-05-01. Retrieved 2012-12-14.
- "Company Overview of Wolverine World Wide, Inc.". Bloomberg. Retrieved March 28, 2017.
- Wolverine World Wide History
- "Wolverine World Wide acquires Chaco Footwear Brand". Associated Press. 2009-01-22. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
- "Wolverine Worldwide 2013 Annual Report with Form 10‑K" (PDF). Wolverine Worldwide. Wolverine Worldwide. March 5, 2014. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
- Wolverine World Wide booklet "A Tradition of Success" 11/1/1983