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Tough start to Johnson Outdoors financial year as fishing sales drop 22%


Johnson Outdoors, owner of brands including Minn Kota, Humminbird, Old Town canoes and kayaks, and Cannon downriggers, has reported lower sales and earnings for its first quarter.

The US company blames high inventory levels and lower consumer demand, but insists it will continue investing in strategic opportunities.

Total net sales declined 22% to $138.6 million compared to $178.3 million in the prior year. Key contributing factors included a 20% decline in fishing sales.

Watercraft Recreation fell 50%, diving sales by 8% and camping by 49%, of which around a half was due to the sale of its Military and Commercial tents business last year.

Total operating profit in the first quarter was $0.05 million versus $5.5 million last year, while gross margin was 38.1% compared to 35.3%, an improvement mainly due to lower costs for certain materials and lower inbound freight expenses.

“We’re facing a tough market place with high inventory levels at retail and lower consumer demand resulting in soft first quarter sales,” said Helen Johnson-Leipold, Chairman and CEO. “We are taking steps to outperform the challenging marketplace and improve our financial results.

“Looking ahead, our focus remains consistent on investing in innovation and marketing to position our brands for success.”

Chief Financial Officer David Johnson said the company remained focused on managing its high inventory levels and making cost savings in order to improve profitability.

“Importantly, our debt-free balance sheet and cash position enable us to continue investing in strategic opportunities, while consistently paying dividends to shareholders,” he added.

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