Johnson Outdoors releases Q1 results

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Johnson Outdoors reported higher sales and operating profit during the company's seasonally slow first fiscal quarter, which ended Dec. 29.

Total company net sales in the quarter rose 24 percent to $116.6 million, compared to net sales of $93.7 million in the prior year quarter, which the company attributed in part to a 33 percent increase in fishing segment sales.

"We're pleased by the strong start to the year, particularly preseason performance in fishing and diving, which highlights the importance of our ongoing focus on innovation that delivers bigger, better new product success,” said Johnson Outdoors chairman and CEO Helen Johnson-Leipold in a statement.

New products from Minn Kota and Humminbird helped drive the 33 percent gain in fishing sales, the company said. Growth in new core life-support products spurred a 17 percent rise in diving revenue.

Camping sales were flat for the quarter, and tightened retail inventory levels due to overall kayak market declines led to lower watercraft recreation sales.

“Continued progress in our work to reposition Eureka for the future and taking actions to strengthen efficiency in watercraft recreation are key priorities in the face of very challenging market conditions," Johnson-Leipold said.

Total operating profit for the first fiscal quarter was $7 million, a $6.6 million improvement over the prior year first quarter.

Significantly higher sales volume, and margin expansion due to a favorable mix of new products sold, drove the favorable quarter-to-quarter comparison.

Gross profit gains more than offset the increase in operating expense, driven in part by implementation of the company's digital transformation strategy.

New U.S. tax reform legislation prompted a change in the valuation of deferred tax assets and a one-time transition tax on previously tax-deferred foreign earnings, resulting in a charge of $6.4 million and an unfavorable year-over-year comparison in net income.

The company reported net income of $200,000, or $0.02 per diluted share, versus $4.1 million, or $0.40 per diluted share, in the previous year's quarter.