Acushnet Golf, the golf division of Fortune Brands, Inc. that houses
the Footjoy, Cobra, and Titleist brands, saw modest sales growth in the
third quarter new product introduction in the year-ago quarter,
especially in clubs, slowed things down. 

Net sales grew 7.0% in the quarter to $318.6 million from $297.8
million in the year-ago quarter. Operating profit for the group slipped
1.0%, however, to $30.0 million from $30.3 million as the costs
involved with new product launches as well as litigation expenses
slowed bottom line growth.

In golf balls, sales grew at a double-digit rate with management
attributing the growth to market share gains, as well as a favorable
mix shift.

Sales of golf clubs either fell “off modestly against a strong double
digit increase in the year ago quarter” or “grew to double digits”
depending on which paragraph of CFO Craig Omtvedt’s presentation you
choose to follow. Accessories saw “strong growth” as well. FootJoy golf
shoes drove a double-digit increase in sales on the success of new

For the full year, the company is targeting operating income before charges for the Acushnet business to be relatively flat.