Thanks to strong sales of warm-weather outdoor recreation products, Johnson Outdoors posted record profits and sales for its third fiscal quarter ended June 29. In particular, the company said it recorded unprecedented growth in its flagship fishing brands, which it attributed to a focus on consumer-driven innovation.
Total revenues jumped by 10.0 percent to $170.8 million, led by new products in the fishing and camping segments. Foreign currency rates had a favorable impact of 1 percent on sales.
In fishing, sales expanded by 17.3 percent to $121.9 million, leading to a 36.0 percent increase in operating profits to $33 million. Continued high demand for new products introduced over the past 18 months powered growth in the Minn Kota, Humminbird and Cannon brands across all key channels.
Over the last year and a half, new products accounted for 60 percent of revenues in the fishing segment, versus typically about a third of revenues. Product highlights in the quarter included the Ultrex, Minn Kota's first electric steer motor for foot pedal control enthusiasts with GPS and wireless capabilities.
In the camping segment - which includes Jetboil‘s outdoor cooking systems and Eureka! camping and hiking equipment - sales jumped by 14.7 percent to $13.9 million, while operating income soared by 48.3 percent to $2.2 million, boosted by gains in the military and commercial segments.
The management said that new products are starting to gain traction in a market that is coming off two very challenging years due to retail customer bankruptcies and consolidation, including the divesture of the Silva brand. The segment saw double-digit gains for Jetboil, partly due to the launch of a flash cooking and stove system that can boil water in less than 100 seconds. New products are expected to account for a third of Jetboil's sales this year. Eureka! also returned to growth.
In the diving segment, revenues declined by 5.5 percent to $20.8 million, but the segment's operating income climbed by 23.4 percent to $1.5 million. The management said that the transition to a new distribution model in Japan over the past year led to a difficult comparison base with the year-ago quarter. Products that performed well were the Hydros Pro buoyancy compensator and the S620 breathing regulator.
Sales of recreational watercraft products were also lackluster, falling by 18.4 percent to $14.1 million, weighed down by a sluggish market for kayaks. Operating profits tumbled 72.7 percent to $661,000.
The company's overall gross margin improved by 1.0 percentage point to 46.5 percent. Net income jumped by 44 percent to $23.8 million.
Looking ahead, the management said the focus remains on three priorities: richer consumer insights, enhanced innovation processes and digital sophistication. It added that the company has entered the implementation phase of digital transformation and is beginning to see an uptick in e-commerce sales.