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Feb. 9, 2009 – Polaris sets sales record despite final quarter dip

Improved snowmobile sales couldn’t offset negative foreign currency impacts and losses in key segments for Polaris Industries, resulting in an overall decrease in fourth-quarter sales and net income.
The Medina, Minn., manufacturer expects such sales decreases to continue throughout 2009, estimating its coming year’s sales to drop 15-23 percent compared to 2008.
“Despite the dampened outlook for the upcoming year, we will continue to leverage our innovation, speed to market and flexible manufacturing capability to gain market share while striving to improve our net margins,” Scott Wine, Polaris’ CEO, says in a press release.
Polaris did finish its fiscal year with percentage gains in net income and revenue, the latter being a record amount of $1.9 billion. Wine also said the company gained market share in each of its business segments.
“We maintained growth in several of our businesses in 2008,” Wine said, “including parts, garments and accessories, military, international and particularly in side-by-sides where we became the market share leader in the side-by-side industry during 2008.”
Overall for its 2008 fiscal year, Polaris reported:

  • Its off-road vehicle sales, which includes core ATVs and UTVs, increased 9 percent to $1.3 billion. Core ATV dealer inventory levels in North America finished 18 percent lower at the end of the fourth quarter compared to the prior-year period. The company, however, did experience a decline in its fourth-quarter international sales.
  • Snowmobile sales increased 15 percent over the prior year to $205 million. Fourth-quarter sales increased even more, 19 percent, as a result of product mix changes. Timing of new models within the year also had an impact.
  • Victory Motorcycles experienced significant wholesale decreases in both the fourth quarter (40 percent) and the year (17 percent) as Polaris “aggressively reduced supply,” Bennett Morgan, Polaris’ president and chief operating officer, said in a conference call announcing the year-end figures. Victory did gain some market share in 2008 but did not see an increase in retail sales.
  • PG&A sales finished 17 percent over last year’s amount despite a a slight decrease of 2 percent in the final quarter.
    Polaris reduced its overall dealer inventories for a second straight year and is now 40,000 units lower in dealer inventories than just two years ago, the company said. Wine said Polaris “assisted our dealers in the fourth quarter, deferring shipments out of the quarter as retail slowed. This cost us in factory inventory but it was the right overall business decision.” psb

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