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Ammo’ and hunting sales slump continues to dampen Vista earnings

Published February 8, 2018
Vista Outdoor's Outdoor Products segment includes Bell and Giro.
Company reports "no shortage of interest" in selling Bollé brand; offers little intel on Giro and Bell performance.

NEW YORK (BRAIN) — Vista Outdoor, owner of the Bell, Giro, Blackburn, CamelBak and Bollé brands, continues to see a sales decline in its core ammunition and firearms segments. The company reported Thursday that sales were down 11 percent in its third quarter, which ended Dec. 31.

In its 10-Q filing, its related news release and an earnings call, the bike-related brands were only briefly mentioned. The company did say its Outdoor Products division, which includes the bike, ski, and eyewear brands, saw a slight uptick in the quarter. Sales were up just 0.7 percent in the segment, to $295 million, but earnings in the segment were up 4.2 percent to $74 million. However, it's difficult to assess the performance of the bike brands because the Outdoor Products division also includes CampChef, Bushnell, and JimmyStyks. Vista said increased sales in its sports protection business were offset by decreases in the hunting and shooting accessories business that is included in the Outdoor Products division.

Vista Outdoor's more troubled segment is Shooting Sports, which comprises its firearms and ammunition brands and where third quarter sales were down 21 percent, to $286 million. Gross profits there were down 47 percent, to $52 million.

Vista Outdoor announced last year that it planned to sell off the Bollé brand, which is primarily an eyewear brand but which also offers bike helmets. In the conference call Thursday, CEO Chris Metz said the company had received "no shortage of interest" from potential Bolle buyers, but was still putting together a complete financial package so that it could start serious sales negotiations. 

Metz said the company decided to sell Bollé because its business was "non-core to what we want to be, and we decided it would be more valuable to another brand that it was to us." He said the company was continuing to evaluate its brand portfolio with an eye toward exiting other categories that are non-core and he suggested there will be more information reorganization plans following the year-end report. 

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