Johnson Outdoors reports all-time highs for fiscal 2017

Johnson Outdoors Inc. announced all-time high revenue and earnings for fiscal 2017. 

Strong on-going marketplace momentum of new products in the company’s core fishing, diving and camp cook brands drove a 13 percent increase in sales, as operating profit grew 99 percent and net income rose 160 percent year-over-year.

Significantly higher sales in fishing and profitable growth in diving led to improved fourth quarter performance. Due to the seasonality of the warm-weather outdoor recreational equipment industry, the company’s fourth quarter results reflect the industry-wide slowing of sales and production.

Total company sales in the quarter were $91.8 million, a 22 percent increase over the prior year quarter, due to continued strong new product demand in fishing and diving, which more than offset lower sales in other units.

Operating expenses are higher than last year’s quarter due to higher revenue and increases in: restructuring costs in diving; compensation expenses; health-care costs; and, warranty expense.

Year-over-year operating loss narrowed to $0.1 million versus an operating loss of $4.9 million in the prior year quarter due to higher sales volume and strong margins.

Net income of $0.6 million, or $0.06 per diluted share, compared favorably to a net loss of $2.1 million, or $0.21 in last year’s fourth quarter. 

“Johnson Outdoors had an exceptional year, driven by unprecedented growth across our flagship Minn Kota and Humminbird fishing brands as demand for the new Ultrex electric cable steer trolling motor, Helix Series fishfinders and new-to-world MEGA Imaging sonar technology remained very strong throughout the year,” said Chairman and CEO Helen Johnson-Leipold.

Total company net sales surged 13 percent to $490.6 million versus $433.7 million in the previous fiscal year.  New products across the Company’s Minn Kota, Humminbird, SCUBAPRO and Jetboil brands more than offset lower revenue in Watercraft Recreation and Camping.

Operating profit climbed 99 percent to $45.6 million versus $22.9 million in the prior fiscal year due to significantly higher sales volume and gross margin percentage improvement in every business unit. Higher volume-related expenses, marketing expenditures, warranty reserves and incentive compensation largely accounted for the year-over-year increase in operating expenses.

Net income for the fiscal year expanded to $35.2 million, or $3.51 per diluted share, a 160 percent improvement compared to net income of $13.5 million, or $1.34 per diluted share, last fiscal year. The Company’s effective tax rate was 27 percent, versus 43 percent in the prior year, reflecting utilization of tax credits created by the repatriation of approximately $21.9 million cash from overseas during the Company’s 2017 first fiscal quarter.

Johnson-Leipold said conversely, challenging market conditions constrained growth in Watercraft Recreation and Camping brands this year.

“Outstanding new product successes this year underscore the critical importance of our consumer-centric transformation to long-term growth. Richer consumer insights are the catalysts behind our winning innovation, and going forward will be the genesis of targeted, cutting-edge marketing,” Johnson-Leipold said.

“These insights also play a pivotal role in the transformation of our overall digital landscape which is now underway.  With more and more consumers beginning their outdoor experience online, it is imperative we make their shopping and purchasing experience the best it can be,” Johnson-Leipold added.

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