Johnson Outdoors, the owner of the Jetboil and Eureka brands, amongst others, saw sales decrease in the first quarter of its financial year as supply chain disruptions made it difficult to keep up with demand for outdoor recreation products. Total company sales in the three months to Dec. 31 declined by 7 percent to $153.5 million, although they remained 20 percent above the pre-pandemic first quarter of 2019.
Operating profit in the first quarter fell to $13.8 million from $23.6 million the year earlier. The gross margin narrowed by 5.8 percentage points from the year-earlier to 39.5 percent and continues to be under pressure, primarily due to increased raw material and freight costs. Net earnings fell to $10.9 million from $19.8 million.
“We are seeing continued strong demand for our products as people continued to be eager to recreate outdoors, while the ongoing supply chain environment and uncertainties associated with the pandemic continue to be challenging and unpredictable,” said Helen Johnson-Leipold, the company’s CEO, in a conference call with analysts. Management said Johnson Outdoors has begun to implement price increases “where appropriate.” However, the impact on margins in the first quarter was minimal given that many prices hikes went into effect on Jan. 1 or later. At the same time, demand continues to be robust. “We’re seeing a strong book of orders right now compared to last year” in all segments of the business, said David Johnson, CFO.
The overall decline in sales was due to the Fishing segment, where revenues fell by 15 percent to $108.4 million. Supply chain constraints and component delays outweighed the positive push from strong orders and customer demand. Camping revenues instead increased by 16 percent to $14.1 million, bolstered by solid demand across consumer product lines and, to a lesser extent, for military tents. Watercraft Recreation sales grew by 17 percent to $14.6 million with continued strong demand for the Sportsman line of products. Diving sales also rose by 17 percent, to $16.5 million, primarily due to advances in the U.S., although other regions also showed signs of recovery.