Cost-cutting and unseasonably warm weather conditions helped Johnson Outdoors to turn around to a net profit of $1,167,000 in its fourth quarter ended Oct. 2 from a loss of $876,000 in the year-ago period. Sales increased by one percent to $85.7 million in the seasonally slow period, rising strongly in Marine Electronics and Outdoor Gear, and declining in the Watercraft and Diving segments.
Good market response to Jetboil's new Mini Mo and Genesis cooking systems pulled sales up to $13.4 million in the quarter from $12.3 million in the year-ago period in the Outdoor Gear segment, which also includes Eureka tents. This allowed the segment to record a much higher operating profit of $1,311,000 for the latest quarter, up from $835,000.
For the full year, Outdoor Gear sales were marginally higher at $47.6 million, compared with $47.4 million, as a surge from Jetboil was offset by a decline in the commercial and military tent sectors, but the segment generated an operating profit of $3,847,000 against an operating loss of $3,726,000.
The Watercraft segment was the only other one that posted better results for the year, rising to $1,620,000 from $210,000. Its sales decreased to $48.9 million from $49.5 million as a result of a pull-out from several unprofitable markets outside the U.S., but this was partly compensated by higher sales under the Old Town brand name. The Diving segment was pulled down by adverse foreign currency exchange rates.
The total revenues of the group went up by one percent to $430.5 million, with an unfavorable $10.8 million impact from currencies, and they generated higher gross margins and 7 percent higher operating earnings of $17,853,000. Net income rose by 16 percent to $10,616,000. The net profit of $9,123,000 made in the previous year included an impairment charge of $8,475,000.
Helen Johnson-Leipold, chairperson and chief executive of the group, said she wants to collect and use feedback from consumers. She said she is looking beyond the limits of narrowly defined product segments to identify new growth opportunities across various recreational activities.