Thule Group saw growth across geographies and product lines in the first quarter of 2022, with sales rising by a reported 19.5 percent compared to the year-earlier to 3,034 million Swedish kronor (€291.7m). On a currency-adjusted basis, sales increased by 13.4 percent. Margins were resilient as price hikes and efficiency measures largely compensated for higher raw material and freight costs and increased staff absences for sickness.

In the three months, sales in the Europe and Rest of World region grew by 12.6 percent to SEK 2,158 million (€207.5m) and were 8.8 percent higher at constant rates. Thule highlighted its strong sales performance in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, the Czech Republic, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. All four of the group’s product categories – Sport&Cargo Carriers; RV; Active with Kids; and Packs, Bags & Luggage – posted sales growth in the region.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, Thule said it immediately ceased sales to Russia and Belarus, while Ukrainian partners have not purchased products amid the ongoing conflict. The financial impact on Thule’s accounts of the war has been limited, given that less than one percent of group sales are to these countries, where it also has no suppliers.

In the Americas, sales jumped by 40.9 percent to SEK 876 million (€84.2m) and were 26.8 percent higher at constant rates. Growth was seen in all product categories and all regional markets, with Canada a standout.

Thule’s gross margin decreased to 40.0 percent in the first quarter from 41.3 percent the year earlier, amid higher costs and increased sickness absences. On a currency-adjusted basis, it decreased by just 0.3 percentage points. The Ebit margin slipped to 22.8 percent from 23.4 percent but was 0.4 percentage points higher after currency adjustment, positively affected by higher sales and continued low overhead expenses. Net profit increased to SEK 527 million (€50.7m) from SEK 447 million.

Thule said it built up inventories during the quarter ahead of the spring season to flexibly manage long lead times for components and anticipate eventual major global supply chain delays.

“The underlying market trend of consumers seeking to live active lives close to home remains stable and positive,” said Magnus Weilander, the group’s CEO. While Thule anticipates general market growth for its existing product categories will be in line with pre-pandemic growth, “our ambition remains to win market share and continue to outpace the market growth in our current categories.” Thule also plans to present two new product categories to be launched in 2023 at a capital markets day scheduled for May 11.