U.S. retail sales of Harleys increase, ends streak

Harley-Davidson’s retail sales in the U.S. rose 7.5 percent in the 2011 second quarter over the year-ago period — the first increase in 17 quarters, the motor company announced.

U.S. dealers sold 53,599 new Harleys during the second fiscal quarter, while only 42,623 bikes were shipped, CFO John Olin said during the company’s second quarter webcast Tuesday morning. U.S. retail inventories have dropped 3,500 units since the 2010 second quarter.

Worldwide sales increased 5.6 percent, with 29,797 units sold internationally. Canadian sales were down 2.1 percent, and Latin America’s sales decreased 1 percent, while Europe and Asia Pacific saw increases of 2.6 percent and 6.7 percent respectively.

Income from continuing operations rose 36.8 percent to $190.6 million. Earnings were led by operating income from Motorcycles and Related Products, which increased 39.2 percent to $219.8 million.

“Harley-Davidson continues to make great progress as we transform our business and take our iconic brand to the many roads of the world,” CEO and president Keith Wandell said. “While we are pleased by Harley-Davidson’s second-quarter results, including the strong jump at retail in the U.S., our focus remains squarely on sustaining this progress through the ongoing implementation of our business strategy.”

On its second quarter success, the company increased its shipment guidance and is now expecting to ship 228,000-235,000 bikes worldwide. As of April 19, only 215,000-228,000 motorcycles were expected to have been shipped, and only 210,494 were shipped in 2010.

For more on Harley-Davidson’s second quarter, check out an upcoming issue of Powersports Business.

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