Parent to K2, Marmot sees 1Q outdoor sales slip, takes conservative outlook for winter 2014/15

Lower inventories of skis late into the season (after a good early winter) dampened 1Q sales compared to last year's stronger spring.

Jarden Corp. (NYSE:JAH), parent to Marmot, K2, Coleman and Backcountry Access and other outdoor and wintersports brands, saw its outdoor segment sales slip 1.6 percent for the first quarter 2014, as there was less leftover ski inventory to sell late in the season, officials said.

“Revenue in Q1 last year (2013) was aided by the closeout of sales of skis and winter apparel,” Jarden CEO James Lille told investors during the company’s conference call and earnings release, May 1. “These products performed well in Q4 and hence, excess inventory was unavailable for sale in Q1 (2014).”

Jarden reported $684.1 million in outdoor sales for the first quarter, versus $694.9 million a year ago. The segment’s operating profit also fell slightly — a gain of $36.3 million, versus $56.2 million a year ago.

Some investors asked whether this past year’s strong U.S. winter would boost results for the 2014/15 season, but Lillie expressed hesitancy and noted a longer recovery.

“If you were in New England, you think you had a fairly robust winter and related ski performance. If you were in the Rockies, you had a pretty healthy performance. And if you were on the West Coast, it wasn't a great winter. Europe, north of the Alps, wasn't so great, but south of the Alps was. And Japan was pretty good,” he said.

“And so what that gives you is essentially a flat to slightly up opportunity for 2014, and we're seeing orders in that range. Obviously, if you get good Q4 weather in 2014, you'll get some incremental lift to those numbers. But again, we're planning conservatively, not a big rebound, as it takes a couple of years to come off a bad winter season, and we are really in year one of that rebound.”

Overall, Jarden, a diversified company selling an array of consumer goods, reported first-quarter 2014 sales of $1.73 billion, up 9.4 percent from a year ago, thanks to acquisitions. Minus those acquisitions, sales were relatively flat with an organic growth rate of 0.6 percent. Net income came in at $3.7 million, versus a net loss of $4.4 million in 2013.

The first quarter is typically the company’s weakest and officials project annual organic sales growth of 3 percent to 5 percent in 2014.

 --David Clucas