Strong Mercury, small boat sales lead Brunswick growth


By Jonathan Sweet
April 25, 2013
Filed under Features, Top Stories

Brunswick Corp.’s engine and parts and accessories businesses are looking strong, but the company continues to struggle with sales of sterndrives and larger boats.

The company reported its 2013 Q1 earnings today, which showed an overall gain of 4 percent in net sales compared to 2012.

Worldwide, sales for the Mercury Marine Group were $521.8 million for the first quarter, up 7 percent from 2012’s $489.4 million. Sales in the Brunswick Boat Group were $289.7 million for the quarter, down 1 percent from $291.8 million last year. In the United States, engine sales were up 13 percent and boat sales were up 7 percent.

The company is experiencing continued weakness in sterndrive sales, reflecting the larger industry trend, said CEO Dusty McCoy. Sales of aluminum and fiberglass outboard boats, however, continue to increase, especially in the United States, and Brunswick is gaining market share in those categories, McCoy added.

First quarter sales in the United States were below expectations, a condition Brunswick believes is related to the poor weather conditions in much of the country.

“We hate to blame weather … but our view is that it is primarily weather related,” McCoy said.

Because of the unfavorable weather this spring, it has been hard to measure the impact of other factors on buyers, such as the increase in the payroll tax, McCoy said.

For the rest of 2013, Brunswick expects to see an “uneven recovery,” with growth in outboard engines and parts and accessories and continued pressure on sales of larger fiberglass boats, McCoy said.

The company is continuing to see good results from its latest introductions, including Sea Ray’s 510 Sundancer and the Bayliner Element, and Brunswick continues to invest heavily in new products, McCoy said.

“Our product folks are really hitting it,” he said. “Our design people are better now than I’ve ever seen. I’m really confident about what we’ve got coming.”

You can read the full earnings release or listen to a webinar of the earnings call at



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