Thule Group reported a 20 percent increase in net income to 203 million Swedish kronor (€21.0m-$22.9m) for the first quarter of 2017 on a 15.9 percent sales increase to SEK 1,599 million (€165.7m-$180.6m). Currency-adjusted, the quarterly sales rose by 12.3 percent and led to an improvement in the underlying operating profit profit margin (Ebit) of 0.3 percentage points to 17.5 percent.
The Outdoor & Bags segment of the group posted a currency-neutral increase of 13.8 percent, driven by Thule's child-related products, with increases of 6.8 percent in the Americas and 17.0 percent in Europe and the rest of the world. In reported terms, sales grew by 17.2 percent to SEK 1,524 million (€157.8m-$172.5m). The underlying operating margin of the segment remained at a level of 19.4 percent.
Thule's Sports & Cargo Carriers performed well in all product groups, particularly in Europe following a large-scale launch of a new family of Thule Chariot multisport trailers. The segment benefited from the launch of a new family of luggage for the modern business traveler, called Subterra, and new bags for electronic devices.
Across the group, sales in Europe and the rest of the world grew by 17 percent in constant currencies, but the management warned that the market is unlikely to progress at a similar rate for the balance of this year. The growth was boosted by a highly positive trend in the European motorhome and caravan market.
In contrast with previous trends, sales rose by 7 percent in the Americas in terms of local currencies, in spite of the difficult retail environment in the U.S.