Fortune Brands Acushnet Golf division posted another strong quarter to end the fiscal year, with sales up 7.9% to $217.6 million in the fourth quarter, compared to $201.6 million in the year-ago period. The operating loss improved by 25.0% for the period to $4.8 million, compared to $6.4 million in the fourth quarter last year.
Acushnet said that sales grew in every product category, with particular strength in the combined Titleist and Pinnacle golf ball brands, newly introduced golf clubs from both Titleist and Cobra, and initial sell-ins for the new FootJoy ReelFit golf shoe. Additionally, the company saw “very strong quarterly sales growth” in Europe and Asia that supplemented continued growth in the U.S.
Full year sales in the Acushnet Golf business were up 3.8% to $1.31 billion from $1.27 billion in the prior year. Acushnet said that their combined Titleist and Pinnacle brands added another point of market share in 2006 at U.S. on and off course golf shops. The company claims that their overall golf ball unit share stands above 50% and dollar share exceeds 60%. Full year operating income declined 3.2% to $166.0 million, compared to $171.5 million in the prior year. The company said that operating income would have been up when excluding the impact of expensing stock options.
For the full year 2007, Acushnet expects to see operating income before charges to grow in the low- to mid-single-digits range.