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Vista Outdoor lays off 57, citing the need to 'improve efficiencies' and 'right-size' its workforce

Published June 27, 2017

FARMINGTON, Utah (BRAIN) — Vista Outdoor, which owns several bike-related companies including Bell and Giro, has laid off 57 employees across its portfolio of more than 50 outdoor brands. The reduction affects marketing, sales, supply chain and customer service staff, including four salaried positions at Giro, two salaried employees at Bell and two employees at Bollé.

The company cited the need to streamline and improve efficiencies as one of the reasons for the layoffs.

"As we communicated in our fourth quarter earnings call, the company continues to drive cost-savings initiatives and improve efficiencies within manufacturing, sourcing and distribution capabilities," Amanda Covington, senior vice president, corporate communications and government relations at Vista Outdoor, told BRAIN in an email. "Any workforce reduction at Vista Outdoor is a difficult decision. All employees were offered outplacement support and severance packages."

In May, Vista Outdoor reported a $579 million, or 5 percent, decrease in sales for its fourth quarter, which ended March 31. For its outdoor products division, which includes its bike-related brands, it reported that while overall sales for the quarter were up 17.2 percent over the same period in 2016, its organic sales were down 23 percent.

In the earnings call, the company also said that decreases across most of its product lines due to a challenging retail environment were offset somewhat by growth in eyewear and golf categories. For fiscal year 2017, which also ended March 31, Vista's outdoor brands reported a 39 percent increase in sales and a 20.7 percent increase in gross profit over fiscal year 2016.

The company did not release specific sales figures for its bike-related businesses in its earnings release.

In its shooting division, Vista reported a 19.1 percent decline in sales and a 7.8 percent dip in gross product compared to the fourth quarter of 2016, citing declines in most ammunition and firearms category sales. For fiscal year 2017, Vista's shooting brands' sales were down 2.3 percent.

"We are experiencing unprecedented decline in demand for ammunition and firearms following the presidential election and softness in the retail environment. These impacts have manifested themselves in our results. In order to address ongoing market headwinds, we are taking actions on several fronts," said Mark DeYoung, Vista Outdoor chairman and CEO, during the earnings call. "We are expanding our brands' e-commerce presence to capitalize on the shift by consumers to online shopping. We are right-sizing our workforce, streamlining the organization and reducing inventory."

The four Giro staff members were based in Scotts Valley, California, and the two Bell employees worked in Carson, California. Vista Outdoor did not disclose which positions were let go.

Vista Outdoor purchased BRG Sports, Inc.'s Action Sports Division, which includes Bell, Giro, C-Preme and Blackburn in April 2016. Vista bought CamelBak in 2015 and also owns the Bollé brand, in addition to a variety of shooting, hunting and fishing brands. Vista Outdoor also owns Jimmy Styks, a stand-up paddleboard brand, Camp Chef, maker of camp cooking implements, and Copilot, a company that makes child bike carriers, among several other outdoor brands.

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