Thule Group AB reported first-quarter earnings improved 10.7 percent to SEK 385 million as revenue increased 10.2 percent to SEK 2.2 billion.
The company’s operating income was SEK 523 million, a 10.4 percent increase, while margin was 24.3 percent. After adjustment for exchange rate fluctuations, operating income rose 6.6 percent.
In Europe & ROW (rest of world), sales increased 11.7 percent after currency adjustment in the second quarter. The sport & cargo carriers category posted very strong sales during the quarter in both bike carriers and roof boxes. The last two years’ launches in premium tow bar mounted bike carriers and the new roof box family, Thule Motion XT, continued to perform well.
RV products saw a continuation of capturing market share and sales growth of 10 percent, while the active with kids and packs, bags and luggage categories posted robust and stable growth, respectively.
In terms of geographic markets, Thule said France, Germany, Sweden and the Czech Republic reported excellent growth in this region.
In the Americas, sales declined by 4.2 percent in the quarter. Similar to first quarter, the decline in sales was due to the ongoing phase-out in the U.S. of a number of low-margin OE contracts which had been announced previously. These OE contracts relate to accessories for pick-up trucks sub-category in the sport & cargo carriers category and simpler bags and cases in the packs, bags & luggage category.
In addition to the sales decrease attributable to these OE contracts, a number of the major retail chains with multiple physical stores in the sport & outdoor channel experienced a tougher quarter than expected with a late spring and some store closures.
The expected decline in Thule’s legacy categories negatively impacted sales in packs, bags & luggage similar to what was seen in Region Europe & ROW. However, the spring launches in sports bags (including the versatile hiking backpack, Thule AllTrail and the innovative hydration backpack, Thule Vital) were strong and the categories of luggage and backpacks for daily use developed positively.
The active with kids category was stable during the quarter and the limited RV products category showed a strong growth. Once again, Brazil and Canada were the region’s strongest markets and trended favorably.