Black Diamond Equipment reported a 24 percent increase in sales to $54.9 million for the third quarter ended Sept. 30, driven by its Poc and Black Diamond brands as well as an increased fulfillment of pre-season autumn bookings. The increase was attributed in particular to Poc's new road cycling collection and Black Diamond's new line of women's apparel, but it covered all the group's brands and all geographies.
The gross margin increased by 2.9 percentage points to 41.4 percent from the prior-year quarter., excluding the impact of last year's product recall its Pieps brand. This increase was primarily due to a favorable mix of higher-margin products and higher-margin sales channels, combined with improvements in the supply chain.
Investments in strategic initiatives led to a 6 percent increase in operating expenses, but nevertheless, the group managed to report an increase in adjusted income from continuing operations to $4.0 million as compared to $1.1 million in the third quarter of 2013.
The loss came after $2.2 million in restructuring costs, as compared to $0.2 million in merger and integration costs in the year-ago quarter.
Adding non-cash items, there was a net loss from continuing operations of $419,000, down from a loss of $3,646,000 in in the same quarter a year ago. The actual reported net income for the period amounted to $20,403,000, up from $1,306,000, and was largely due to a pre-tax gain of $39.5 million on the sale of its Gregory Mountain Products brand for $84.1 million to Samsonite, which was completed on July 23.
The company said it expects to utilize around $31.4 million of its net operating loss carryforwards from the sale of Gregory, leaving a balance of around $179.0 million woth of loss carryforwards, inherited from its former merger with Gregory, for future use in its accounting.
Black Diamond confirmed its outlook for the second half and full year of 2014. Sales in the second half of 2014 are expected to range from $113 million to $118 million, representing an increase of between 15 and 20 percent versus the same period in 2013.
The gross margin for the second half should range between 39.5 percent and 40.5 percent, which would represent an increase of 1.6 to 2.6 percentage points from the second half of 2013.
For the full year, sales are expected to range between $192 million and $197 million, which would represent an increase of 14 to 17 percent from 2013. The company expects gross margins for the full year to range between 38.5 percent and 39.0 percent, 1.3 to 1.8 percentage points higher than in 2013.
Black Diamond said it is on track to triple its apparel sales in the second full year of the new project. The planned reduction in SKUs should affect about $6 million in annual sales.