Johnson Outdoors, the U.S.-based owner of several fishing, diving, camping and watercraft brands, including Jetboil, Scubapro, Eureka and Old Town, amongst others, saw sales decrease in the first quarter of its financial year as supply chain disruptions made it difficult to keep up with demand for outdoor recreation products. Total company sales in the three months to Dec. 31, 2021, declined by 7 percent to $153.5 million, although they remained 20 percent above the pre-pandemic first quarter of 2019.
Operating profit in the first quarter fell to $13.8 million from $23.6 million the year earlier. The gross margin narrowed by 5.8 percentage points from the year-earlier to 39.5 percent and continues to be under pressure, primarily due to increased raw material and freight costs. Net earnings fell to $10.9 million from $19.8 million.
“We are seeing continued strong demand for our products as people continued to be eager to recreate outdoors, while the ongoing supply chain environment and uncertainties associated with the pandemic continue to be challenging and unpredictable,” said Helen Johnson-Leipold, the company’s CEO. Management said Johnson Outdoors has begun to implement price increases “where appropriate.” However, the impact on margins in the first quarter was minimal given that many prices hikes went into effect on Jan. 1 or later. At the same time, demand continues to be robust.
The overall decline in sales was driven by the Fishing segment, where revenues fell by 15 percent to $108.4 million, due to supply chain disruptions and component delays. Camping revenues increased by 16 percent to $14.1 million, bolstered by solid demand across consumer product lines and, to a lesser extent, for military tents. Watercraft Recreation sales grew by 17 percent to $14.6 million, and Diving rose by 17 percent to $16.5 million, the latter primarily due to strong sales in the U.S., although other regions also showed some recovery.