We are going to publish the full version of our annual chart on the International Rugged Outdoor Footwear Market in the next issue of The Outdoor Industry Compass, reporting the figures and the estimates that we have obtained for more than 20 major companies or brands. Meanwhile, here are the figures that we can provide for the five major groups, which represent about half of the total branded market.

Converted to U.S. dollars based on the average exchange rate for the year, they show a small increase in the U.S. and a small decrease outside the U.S., although the latter was largely due to the appreciation of the dollar by 8 percent against the euro. The results stand against major gains recorded by most of these companies in 2011. They were impacted by erratic weather patterns and difficult economic conditions in Europe.

Wolverine Worldwide remained the leader in this category, but Merrell, for which we are providing sales estimates for footwear only, including those of its licensees, showed signs of fatigue. Columbia Sportswear's shoe segment suffered primarily from a big sales decline for Sorel. Keen, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, overtook Rocky Brands as the 5th largest supplier in the market.

The full table that we will run in the next issue will show major declines for Tecnica Group and Viking, among others, and slower growth for several other players. It will be interesting to compare the scores with those of the major athletic and casual footwear brands, which we will publish in Sporting Goods Intelligence and in Shoe Intelligence.

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