Johnson Outdoors announced all-time high revenue and earnings for the second consecutive fiscal year. Strong marketplace demand for new products in the company’s core Fishing and Diving brands propelled an 11 percent increase in sales as operating profit grew 38 percent and net income rose 16 percent over the prior fiscal year. The seasonally slow fourth quarter net sales nearly equaled prior year results.
“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 chief executive officer.
“Importantly, deeper, richer consumer understanding is at the core of everything we do. Going forward, our ability to connect with more consumers in new, more meaningful ways will enable us to fully leverage and maximize investments in digital transformation, marketing sophistication and ecommerce to enhance performance in all segments and channels. Much progress has been made in transforming Johnson Outdoors for future success in a changing marketplace. More work and more investment will be needed to ensure continued sustainable growth and profitability.”
FISCAL 2018 HIGHLIGHTS
- New product success
- Sustained momentum in Fishing and Diving
- Enhanced digital sophistication
- Strong cash flow and a debt-free balance sheet
- Increased quarterly dividend to shareholders
FISCAL 2018 RESULTS
Total company net sales grew 11 percent to $544.3 million versus fiscal 2017 net sales of $490.6 million. New product demand across the company’s Fishing, Diving and Camping brands more than offset declines in Watercraft Recreation.
Key factors in the year-over-year comparison were:
- Exceptional new product performance fueled double-digit revenue growth in Minn Kota and Humminbird brands in all key categories, channels and markets.
- Continued momentum for award-winning innovation in life-support categories gave a 3 percent boost to SCUBAPRO brand sales.
- Growth in Eureka and Jetboil brands nearly offset the loss of sales resulting from the divestiture of the non-core Silva brand.
- Kayak market declines across all segments and channels negatively impacted Watercraft Recreation revenue.
Operating profit soared to a record-high $63.0 million, a 38 percent increase over $45.6 million in the prior fiscal year, due to significantly higher sales volume and margin improvement year-over-year. Higher volume-related expenses and increased digital marketing expenditures and R&D investment primarily accounted for the year-over-year uptick in operating expense dollars. As a percent of sales, fiscal 2018 operating expense declined versus fiscal 2017.
Net income for the fiscal year increased 16 percent to $40.7 million, or $4.05 per diluted share, versus $35.2 million, or $3.51 per diluted share, last fiscal year. The effective tax rate of 40.3 percent reflects $8.4 million in charges resulting from changes in accounting for taxes prompted by U.S. tax reform legislation enacted during the fiscal year.
FOURTH QUARTER RESULTS
Due to the seasonality of the warm-weather outdoor recreation equipment industry, the company’s fourth quarter results reflect the industry-wide slowing of sales and production. Total company net sales in the quarter dipped slightly year-over-year to $91.1 million, a decline of less than 1 percent. Operating loss was ($2.0 million) in the current year fourth quarter versus ($0.1 million) in the prior fourth quarter, primarily due to continued digital investments. Net loss of ($5.0 million), or ($0.49) per diluted share in the current year quarter compared unfavorably to net income of $0.6 million, or $0.06 per diluted share, in the prior year quarter.
OTHER FINANCIAL INFORMATION
The company reported cash and short-term investments of $150.6 million as of September 28, 2018, a $40.2 million jump above the prior year, with no debt on its balance sheet. Depreciation and amortization was flat year-over-year at $13.1 million. Capital spending totaled $19.2 million in fiscal 2018 compared with $11.6 million in fiscal 2017.
“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. In addition, we expect our fiscal 2019 tax rate to decline, reflecting the reduction in the US federal corporate income tax rate,” said David W. Johnson, chief financial officer.