Fishing delivers record results for Johnson

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“Unprecedented” growth in fishing business boosts Johnson Outdoors' annual results.

Outdoor equipment supplier Johnson Outdoors has reported record financial results for the second year in a row for the fiscal year ending September 2018, thanks mainly to the on-going success of its fishing brands including Minn Kota and Humminbird.

Total net sales grew by 11% in 2018 to $544.3 million (all figures in US dollars) compared with $490.6 million the previous year. Operating profit was up 38% to a record-high $63 million, compared with $45.6 million in the prior fiscal year, due to higher sales volumes and margin improvements year-over-year.

Net sales growth in the fishing segment outstripped the rest of the company's portfolio, increasing 19% over the year to $391.1 million. This was offset by sales of watercraft, which includes the Old Town and Ocean Kayak brands, which were down nearly 25% to $36.3 million.

“Unprecedented growth in our flagship fishing business has driven record results two years in a row on the strength of revolutionary, consumer driven innovation. Our goal is consistent bigger, better new product success like this across our entire brand portfolio,” said Helen Johnson-Leipold, chairman and CEO.

In a conference call, Johnson-Leipold said the watercraft market had been “facing strong headwinds due to market disruptions from retailer bankruptcies and restructurings over the past couple of years, resulting in overall softness in both markets”. However, the company remains “very bullish” about the segment, she said.

For the coming year, the company expects growth to continue but not at double-digital levels. Net sales dipped slightly in the fourth quarter of 2018 which saw the company record an operating loss of $2 million.

“Looking ahead to next year, while we expect revenue to grow, recently enacted tariffs are estimated to have a negative impact of $6.0 - $9.0 million on fiscal 2019 operating profit, which includes foreseeable mitigation efforts at this time,” said David W. Johnson, CFO.

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