Outdoor financials: VF’s Q1 profit climbs 62 percent, plus Amer Sports, Johnson Outdoors, Timberland, Jarden, Luxottica, West Marine

VF’s first-quarter profit climbed 62 percent, Amer Sports' Q1 sales rose 5 percent, Johnson Outdoors reported a 62-percent jump in Q2 outdoor equipment sales, Timberland's Q1 profit jumped 62 percent, Jarden posted a Q1 loss, Oakley's revenue boosted Luxottica’s Q1 sales, and sales of big-ticket items boosted West Marine’s Q1 sales.

VF’s Q1 profit climbs 62 percent

VF Corp. (NYSE: VFC), whose brands include The North Face, JanSport and Eagle Creek, said its first-quarter profit rose a better-than-expected 62 percent, helped by inventory and cost cutting.

The company said that it plans to commit an extra $35 million in investment spending behind big brands, making the total spending worth $85 million. Targeted brands include The North Face and Vans and opportunities in China.

It earned $163.5 million, or $1.46 a share, compared to $100.9 million, or $0.91 a share, last year. It received a $0.02 a share benefit after taking into account a tax credit and restructuring expenses.

Revenue edged up to $1.75 billion from $1.73 billion a year ago.

First-quarter revenues for the outdoor and action sports business grew 10 percent, with operating income and margins each reaching record levels for the period. Global revenues of The North Face and Vans brands grew 9 percent and 20 percent, respectively. Total revenues in the Americas businesses rose 11 percent, while international revenues were up 8 percent.

Total direct-to-consumer revenues for its outdoor and action sports businesses rose 28 percent in the quarter, with double-digit growth in The North Face, Vans, Kipling, Napapijri and lucy brands.

Operating income rose by 50 percent, with margins increasing to nearly 20 percent in the quarter, despite significant increases in marketing and other brand-building investments.

The company raised its 2010 guidance and expects revenue to rise 3 percent to 4 percent, up from prior guidance of a rise of 2 percent to 3 percent. The new outlook means it expects revenue of between $7.35 billion and $7.43 billion. Per-share profit is projected to be about $5.90 from a previous estimate of as much as $5.70 a share.

Also, VF’s board of directors approved a quarterly cash dividend of $0.60 per common share. It will pay the dividend on June 18 to shareholders of record on June 8.

Amer’s Q1 rebounds on winter/outdoor segment growth

Amer Sports reported a 5-percent increase in its overall sales for the first quarter, saying its winter and outdoor segment, which includes Salomon, Arc’Teryx and Suunto, experienced the most rapid growth during the quarter.

“Profitability in winter sports equipment continued to improve,” said Pekka Paalanne, Amer’s executive vice president and CFO, in a statement. “Excellent product line, good snow conditions and internal measures to improve the profitability had the biggest impact on the development.”

For the company as a whole, net sales were EUR 372.6 million (USD $491.4 million) versus EUR 355.3 million (USD $468.6 million) in the same period last year. Net sales also improved by 5 percent in local currency terms. The sales trend in the Americas stabilized, it said.

Group EBIT of EUR 9.5 million (USD $12.5 million) improved by EUR 16.4 million (USD $21.6 million) with the main contributors being improved gross profit margins of EUR 8.1 million (USD $10.6 million) and sales growth of EUR 7.6 million (USD $10.0 million).

Earnings before taxes totaled EUR 0.4 million (USD $0.52 million) versus a loss of EUR 14.4 million (USD $18.9 million) last year, and earnings per share were a loss of EUR 0.01 (USD $0.013) versus a loss of EUR 0.12 (USD $0.15).

For the winter and outdoor segment, net sales were up 11 percent to EUR 181.7 million (USD $239.6 million) from last year’s EUR 164.4 million (USD $216.8 million). In local currencies, sales were up were 9 percent. Sales increased in all business and geographical areas except in the Americas where sales in local currencies were down by 13 percent, Amer reported.

EBIT was positive at EUR 1.7 million (USD $2.2 million) versus a loss of EUR 10.9 million (USD $14.3 million) last year. The improvement resulted from higher sales and better gross profits, especially in winter sports equipment.

Winter sports equipment net sales were up 14 percent – 13 percent in local currencies — to EUR 42.3 million (USD $55.7 million), compared to EUR 37.0 million (USD $48.8 million). The company said good snow conditions at the end of the 2009/10 winter season had a positive effect in all key markets. While sales in all product categories were up, cross-country skiing grew fastest especially in central and northern Europe, it added.

Supported by strong growth in Europe, Canada and Asia Pacific, apparel and footwear net sales were up 10 percent to EUR 91.0 million (USD $120.0 million) versus EUR 82.5 million (USD $108.8 million). In local currencies, sales were up 7 percent.

Net sales for the sports instruments segment, which includes Suunto, totaled EUR 19.1 million (USD $25.1 million), up 8 percent from last year’s EUR 17.7 million (USD $23.3 million). In local currencies, it was up 7 percent.

Looking ahead, Amer Sports expects the sporting goods market to recover moderately, but with significant differences for various regions and sports. It also expects its 2010 EBIT margin to improve to the mid-single-digit level.

(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.)

Johnson Outdoors reports 62 percent jump in Q2 outdoor equipment sales

Johnson Outdoors (Nasdaq: JOUT) said its second-quarter net income increased on a mix of higher sales, cost cuts and a more profitable product mix.

For the quarter ended April 2, its net income was $6.2 million, or $0.64 per share, up 151 percent, compared with $2.5 million, or $0.27 per share, for the same period a year ago.

Net sales for the period increased 6 percent to $112.9 million from $106.6 million.

Outdoor equipment sales jumped 62 percent because military sales more than doubled, and consumer camping was up nearly 43 percent. Watercraft net sales were down 25.2 percent. The company said sales of marine electronics rose nearly 6 percent, and sales in the diving business increased nearly 19 percent.

Helen Johnson-Leipold, chairman and CEO of Johnson Outdoors, said the second-quarter results reflected improving economic conditions and stabilization in the outdoor recreational industry.

The company’s brands include Old Town, Ocean Kayak, Necky, Carlisle and Eureka.

Timberland Q1 profit up overseas sales rise

Timberland (NYSE: TBL), parent of SmartWool, said its first-quarter profit jumped 62 percent, as overseas sales improved on a softer dollar and U.S. customers spent a bit more.

But the company known for its outdoor footwear and clothing express caution about pressures on input costs such as leather, transportation and Chinese labor.

Timberland earned $25.7 million, or $0.47 per share, for the period ended April 2. That compares with a profit of $15.9 million, or $0.27 per share, a year ago.

Revenue increased 7 percent to $317 million from $296.6 million. The results were boosted 3.7 percent by international shoppers taking advantage of the weaker dollar.

European revenue rose 8.7 percent, while revenue for Asia climbed 16.9 percent. North American revenue edged up 1.7 percent on better sales of clothing and accessories.

Global footwear revenue rose 6.6 percent, with wholesale revenue up 6.1 percent.

Jarden posts Q1 loss

Jarden Corp. (NYSE: JAH), parent of Coleman, K2 and Marmot, said it posted a loss for its first quarter due to several major charges.

Jarden reported a loss of $59 million, or $0.66 per share, for the quarter, compared with a profit of $8.9 million, or $0.12 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding several one-time items — including Venezuela’s devaluation of its bolivar in January — the company earned $0.25 per share for the quarter, compared with $0.24 per share a year earlier.

For the quarter ended March 31, net sales increased 4 percent to $1.19 billion compared to $1.14 billion for the same period in the previous year.

Jarden said the prices it paid for commodities rose during the quarter, and it believes those increases will continue through the year.

Oakley revenue boosts Luxottica’s Q1 sales

Luxottica (NYSE: LUX) posted a 21-percent increase in first-quarter profit as its Oakley brand’s revenue rose 20 percent, with its European sales rising 30 percent despite a flat retail environment.

Luxottica’s net profit rose to EUR 95.1 million (USD $125.4 million), or EUR 0.21 (USD $0.27) per share, from EUR 78.8 million (USD $103.9 million) a year earlier.

Sales increased 6 percent to EUR 1.39 billion (USD $1.83 billion) from EUR 1.31 billion (USD $1.72 billion) in the first quarter of 2009.

Luxottica CEO Andrea Guerra said in a statement the results, buoyed by a rebound in U.S. consumer spending, a “solid and promising start to the year,” although growth was uneven geographically.

At Sunglass Hut, the company’s main retail-store chain for fashion eyewear, first-quarter U.S. sales increased 11 percent, while emerging-markets posted 30-percent growth. The company’s LensCrafters business also showed solid growth.

Luxottica is giving Oakley significant funds to invest in Europe.

(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.)

Big-ticket items boost West Marine’s Q1 sales

West Marine (Nasdaq: WMAR) reported an 8.6-percent increase in sales and a narrowed loss for the first quarter, as consumers bought bigger-ticket items, like boats and electronics, and maintenance-related products.

Net revenues for the quarter ended April 3 were $109.6 million, compared to net revenues of $101.0 million for the same period in 2009. Comparable store sales increased 8.4 percent versus the same period a year ago.

Pre-tax loss was $8.9 million, or $0.40 per share, compared to a pre-tax loss of $15.4 million last year, or $0.71 per share, last year.

Gross profit was $25.6 million, an increase of $3.7 million compared to 2009. As a percentage of net revenues, gross profit increased 1.7 percent to 23.4 percent, compared to gross profit of 21.7 percent last year.

SG&A expense for the quarter was $34.5 million, a 6.4-percent decrease, compared to $36.9 million for the same period last year. As a percentage of revenues, SG&A decreased 5.0 percent to 31.5 percent.

Inventory levels at the end of the quarter decreased by $14.9 million, or 5.8 percent, reflecting a 4.8-percent decrease on a per-square-footage basis. Additionally, in-stock rates have been maintained at the company’s internal target levels.

–Compiled by Wendy Geister

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