Boosted by solid gains from fishing and camping, Johnson Outdoors returned to profit in its fourth fiscal quarter, ended on Sept. 27. The group's net income reached $3.9 million, against a net loss of $4.9 million for the corresponding period in 2018. The management said this was largely due to increased sales and the timing of tariff exclusions granted in the current quarter, which had a positive impact of $1.2 million.
The company said it has been investing to expand its e-commerce capabilities during the year, and those efforts paid off in the fourth quarter.
Total revenues progressed by 14.1 percent to $104 million, and the gross margin rose by 1.4 percentage points to 44.8 percent.
Looking ahead, the management said it is focusing on innovation, while improving operational efficiency to protect margins and better manage working capital. It highlighted five key strategic drivers: consumer understanding, sustained innovation leadership, new sources and paths of growth in markets, accelerated digital sophistication and increasing focus on e-commerce.
In the latest quarter, the company's revenues from its Fishing segment soared by 22.1 percent to $66.9 million, led by strong sales of Minn Kota and Humminbird products such as Humminbird's Mega Imaging system with the Helix fish finder, as well as the Sonar imaging system, which gives anglers deep and clear underwater views. The operating profit in the division jumped by 44.8 percent to $8.4 million.
The Camping division, which includes brands such as Jetboil and Eureka, saw sales rocket by 30.0 percent to $10.3 million, led by Jetboil. Here, the operating income reached $0.8 million, against $0.1 million for the year-ago quarter.
By contrast, the Diving segment, which the group is trying to strengthen, contracted by 4.3 percent down to $20.4 million. The segment's operating profit declined by 45.7 percent to $0.9 million.
Hurt by weakness in the kayak market, sales in the Watercraft recreation segment dropped by 9.8 percent to $6.3 million. The division recorded an operating loss of $1.2 million, compared with 0.9 million for the year-ago quarter.
For the full fiscal year, Johnson's sales were up by 3.0 percent to $562.4 million, while the gross margin remained flat at 44.4 percent. Net income rose by 26.4 percent to $51.4 million. The management said that demand for Minn Kota and Humminbird powered a 5 percent increase in fishing sales for the full year. Camping benefited from continued growth in Jetboil and improved performance in military tent sales. However, the positive momentum in the North American diving market was not enough to offset declines in Asian markets and the negative impact of foreign currency.