Escalade, Inc. was one of the first vendors to report results for the 2010 first quarter and has set a pretty strong pace for others to follow.  ESCA saw revenues for its sporting goods segment climb 8.9% to $16.9 million for the fiscal first quarter ended March 20.  The company attributes the increase to a jumpstart in the current economy, new distribution practices and supplemented inventory levels at retailers.


Gross margin for the sporting goods segment jumped nine points to 31% of sales as compared to the 22% of sales in Q1 2009, a gain that is largely attributed to the reductions in cost and facility consolidations initiated during 2009 which have contributed to more favorable factory variances in the Sporting Goods segment. 


SG&A costs in the sporting goods segment decreased 1.5% due to decreased selling and marketing costs associated, as well as personnel reductions initiated during 2008 and 2009. Another contributor to reduced costs involved the consolidation of table tennis production in Mexico, which was completed in Feb. 2009. 


Resulting operating income for the segment was $2 million for Q1 as compared to $35,000 in the year-ago period.


ESCA expects sales in the sporting goods segment will follow trends in overall consumer spending in the U.S., resulting in sales higher or equal to what the company saw in 2009.