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Fitness financials: Amer Sports reports Q1 fitness segment sales down 13 percent, plus Under Armour, Big 5, Costco

Amer Sports reported that its Q1 fitness segment sales dropped 13 percent, Under Armour's Q1 profit plunged, Big 5's income dropped in Q1 on weak consumer traffic, and Costco declared a quarterly cash dividend.

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Amer Sports reports Q1 fitness segment sales down 13 percent

A weak U.S. dollar knocked Amer Sports Group’s first-quarter net sales down by 5 percent, while soft consumer demand in the United States caused Precor fitness division sales to drop 13 percent.

Amer Sports’ first-quarter net sales were EUR 363.0 million (USD $566.5 million) versus EUR 381.8 million (USD $595.9 million) in the same period the year before. Net sales in local currency terms increased 2 percent.

Earnings loss before taxes narrowed to EUR 6.9 million (USD $10.7 million) versus a loss of EUR 14.6 million (USD $22.7 million) the year before. Earnings loss per share came in at EUR 0.07 (USD $0.10), lower than a loss of EUR 0.15 (USD $0.23) in 2007. Net financial expenses amounted to a loss of EUR 6.9 million (USD $10.7 million) compared to a loss of EUR 6.8 million (USD $10.6 million) in the same period the year before.

First-quarter net sales for the company’s fitness segment, which includes Precor, decreased 13 percent in local currency terms to EUR 57 million (USD $88.9 million) compared to EUR 73.8 million (USD $115.1 million) in the same period last year. The Americas accounted for 77 percent, EMEA for 17 percent, and Asia Pacific for 6 percent of net sales. In local currency terms, sales were up 29 percent in EMEA, and down 10 percent in Asia Pacific and 19 percent in the Americas.

Due to the considerable fall in sales for the fitness segment, EBIT decreased 57 percent to EUR 3.7 million (USD $5.7 million) versus EUR 9.9 million (USD $15.4 million) in 2007.

The company said the softening of consumer demand in the United States had a noticeable impact on the demand for Precor’s products for home use. Sales to health clubs continued to thrive in North America and EMEA, it added.

(Conversion of Euros into U.S. dollars is for information only, is not necessarily relative to earnings, and is based on the currency rate as of April 29.)

Under Armour’s Q1 profit plunges

Under Armour (NYSE: UA) said its first-quarter profit tumbled 71 percent, weighed down by increased marketing expenses.

For the quarter ended March 31, the company reported income of $2.9 million, or $0.06 per share, compared with $9.9 million, or $0.20 per share, in the year-ago period.

Revenue rose 27 percent to $157.3 million from $124.3 million in the first quarter of 2007. The company said sales were boosted by a 25-percent increase in apparel revenue with strong growth across the men’s, women’s and youth segments. Footwear revenue increased 40 percent to $16.6 million.

Cost of goods sold rose 29 percent to $82.5 million. Selling, general and administrative expenses increased 58 percent to $70.5 million on higher marketing expenses. The company previously said it would shift a substantial portion of its full-year marketing spending to the first half of the year.

Marketing expenses for the first quarter were 18 percent of revenue, compared with 11 percent in the prior-year quarter. Under Armour said it would continue to invest 12 percent to 13 percent of revenue in its marketing budget for the full year.

Also, Under Armour reiterated its full-year sales outlook for $765 million to $775 million, representing a 26-percent to 28-percent gain over the company’s 2007 revenue figure.

It lowered its full-year income from operations estimate to between $103.5 million to $104.5 million, from a previous estimate of $108.5 million to $110.5 million.

The company earlier estimated gross margin improvement of 40 to 50 basis points, but now expects gross margins to fall by 30 basis points in 2008.

Big 5 income drops in Q1 on weak consumer traffic

Big 5 Sporting Goods (Nasdaq: BGFV) said its first-quarter profit fell 46 percent amid a difficult retail environment.

First-quarter profit fell to $4.1 million, or $0.19 per share, from $7.6 million, or $0.33 per share, in the same quarter last year.

Revenue fell 2 percent to $212.9 million from $217 million. Same-store sales fell 5.1 percent during the quarter. Customer traffic fell and demand for roller shoes continued to decline, the company said. That was partly offset by strong sales of winter-related products.

The company now expects 2008 profit of $0.60 to $0.85 per share, compared with previous guidance of $0.75 to $1 per share. The company expects that same-store sales will fall in the low- to mid-single digit range.

For the fiscal second quarter, it expects a profit of $0.06 to $0.12 per share on a mid-single digit decline in same-store sales.

Also, Big 5 declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.09, payable on June 13 to shareholders of record as of May 30.

Costco declares a quarterly cash dividend

The board of directors for Costco (Nasdaq: COST) has declared a quarterly cash dividend on its common stock and approved an increase from $0.145 to $0.16 per share each quarter, or $0.64 per share on an annualized basis. The dividend of $0.16 per share is payable May 30 to shareholders of record on May 16.

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