Johnson Outdoors Inc. said that increased net sales and improved operating profits were driven by the continued strength of its Motors business and military tent sales. The Company announced earnings per diluted share of $0.02 for the first fiscal quarter ended January 2, 2004, compared with a net loss per diluted share of $0.03 in the prior year.

Favorable adjustments in accrual and reserve balances added $0.07 per diluted share in the current year.
Similar favorable adjustments in the year-ago quarter added $0.03 per diluted share. Due to the seasonality of Johnson Outdoors' market segments, first quarter results may not be indicative of the Company's primary selling period, which takes place in its second and third fiscal quarters.

Total net sales grew 15% to $62.9 million versus $54.9 million, with all
four Johnson Outdoors business units — Motors, Outdoor Equipment, Watercraft
and Global Diving — posting higher sales over the first quarter of last year.
Favorable currency translations totaling $2.0 million are reflected in net
sales of the Company's Global Diving unit, in a market sector that continues
to face challenges related to the decline in travel to major dive
destinations. Operating profit increased to $1.3 million compared with
$0.2 million in the quarter year-ago. Improvements in other businesses helped
offset the operating loss in Watercraft resulting from continued operating
inefficiencies, a delay in transitioning to production of new kayak designs
and revised pacing of shipments to a major pedal boat customer.

Helen Johnson-Leipold, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, provided
perspective on the Company's first fiscal quarter results: “We continue to
benefit from the diversity of our portfolio, as two of our businesses had a
good start and two still face challenges. It is too soon to tell whether
growing retailer and consumer confidence in the economy will have a positive
impact across our market segments this year. Our priorities continue to be:
improving operational efficiency in Watercraft; maintaining tight fiscal
controls in Diving; and, advancing new product development efforts across our

Balance sheet variances from the year ago quarter reflect the increase in
sales from the prior year's first quarter, and include $3.3 and $3.0 million
from the impact of currency changes on inventory and accounts receivable,
respectively. Paul Lehmann, Chief Financial Officer, commented, “With the
most recent scheduled debt reduction payments during the first quarter, the
company's debt to equity ratio has declined to 31%, its lowest point in
10 years, further strengthening the company's liquidity and strategic


   (thousands, except per share amounts)
   Operating Results                              THREE MONTHS ENDED
                                                  Jan 2           Dec 27
                                                  2004             2002

    Net sales                                    $62,941         $54,895
    Cost of sales                                 35,971          31,212

    Gross profit                                  26,970          23,683
    Operating expenses                            25,624          23,517

    Operating profit                               1,346             166
    Interest expense, net                          1,204           1,018
    Other expenses (income), net                    (120)           (356)

    Income (loss) before income taxes                262            (496)
    Income tax expense (benefit)                     102            (216)

    Net income (loss)                               $160           $(280)

    Net income (loss) basic and
     diluted per common share                      $0.02          $(0.03)

    Diluted average common shares outstanding      8,710           8,349

    Segment Results
    Net sales:
      Outdoor equipment                          $15,803         $11,897
      Watercraft                                  12,440          11,909
      Motors                                      18,008          15,006
      Diving                                      16,942          16,474
      Other/eliminations                            (252)           (391)

    Total                                        $62,941         $54,895

    Operating profit:
      Outdoor equipment                           $2,481          $1,409
      Watercraft                                  (3,511)         (1,929)
      Motors                                       3,038           1,577
      Diving                                       1,685           2,025
      Other/eliminations                          (2,347)         (2,916)

    Total                                         $1,346            $166