Amer Sports reported sales rose 6.3 percent in its fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, or 12 in currency-neutral (c-n) terms on the strength of rebounding European sales and strong gains across most of its categories, including snow sports equipment.
The Finnish company reported gross margins climbed 90 basis points to 41.9 percent, while EBIT – excluding non-recurring items – rose 38 percent to €64.7 million, or 7.6 percent of net sales.
Sales growth was driven by Footwear (+25 percent), Apparel (+21 percent), Sports Instruments (+18 percent), and Fitness (+16 percent). Sales of Winter Sports Equipment rose 8 percent. Ball Sports, where sales rose 5 percent c-n, but declined 1 percent after adjusting for exchange rates, emerged as the weakest of the company's three major segments.
Amer Sports, which owns the Salomon (footwear and apparel), Wilson (ball sports), Atomic (winter equpment), Arc'teryx (apparel), Mavic (bicycle parts), Suunto (instruments) and Precor (fitness) brands, said all three of its geographic regions delivered records sales as did its business-to-consumer channel. Growth was strongest in Europe, where sales rose 11 percent (3 percent c-n) to €338.6 million, or 51 percent of sales. In the Americas, where employment grew 4 percent to 2,455 during the year, sales increased 2 percent (8 percent c-n), to €229.3 million. In the Asia-Pacific sales were up 1 and 19 percent percent respectively, reflecting the depreciation of the Japanese yen.
“Amer Sports had a strong momentum in Q4 and we delivered double-digit growth (12 percent) and improved profitability,” said Heikki Takala, president and CEO. “Importantly, the growth and improvements were broad-based across business areas, geographical regions, and channels. For the full year 2013, we grew in all business areas except Individual Ball Sports (Wilson) which was flat. While trading conditions remained challenging, we focused on our own improvement programs and reached annual sales growth of 8 percent with all-time high sales for the Group. We also improved profitability from the previous year.
“Since renewing the Amer Sports strategy in 2010, we have now delivered four consecutive years of solid growth and improvement. Our strategies are working, we see a lot of further opportunities, and we continue executing with confidence.”
Outlook for 2014
Amer Sports expects global trading conditions to remain challenging, with some regional improvements. In 2014, Amer Sports' net sales growth in local currencies is expected to meet at minimum the company's long-term annual 5 percent growth target, and EBIT excluding non-recurring items is expected to improve from 2013. The company will continue to focus on softgoods growth, consumer-driven product and marketing innovation, commercial expansion and operational excellence.
“Throughout 2013 and still in 2014, we have continued to invest in executing and accelerating our growth strategy as we have identified significant further business opportunities within our strategic priorities,” said Takala. “Ongoing investments in capability, softgoods growth, go-to-market expansion and consumer-driven product and marketing innovation ensure that we have strong building blocks for future growth, whilst we simultaneously target profit improvement thru further scale & synergy and integration.”