Briggs Sales Down on Unfavorable Weather Conditions

Sales down a smidge as generator sales slump on lack of severe weather, lawn and garden season delayed by three to four weeks as nation unthaws from historic winter.

Briggs & Stratton’s third-quarter sales, ending March 30, were down 1.4% compared to a year ago. The modest dip is primarily attributable to a reduction in generator sales resulting from a lack of severe weather-related events during the first few months of 2014.

"During our third quarter, we saw increases in shipments of engines for lawn and garden equipment in the U.S. despite below average temperatures and a slow start to the spring retail season this year," said Todd Teske, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Briggs & Stratton. "Our U.S. shipments of large engines increased in excess of 10% in the quarter, reflecting our gains in retail placement. Higher U.S. lawn and garden engine shipments were offset by reduced engines shipped for generators compared with last year when we were replenishing generator inventories following Hurricane Sandy. Shipments of lawn and garden products in the quarter decreased in line with industry trends given the slow start to the spring season.

"We believe that the colder than normal temperatures have delayed retail sales of equipment by approximately three to four weeks and perhaps longer as we have not yet seen the weather break across the United States,” Teske added.

During its third quarter, Briggs did see a bump in the sale of snowthrowers and engines used for lawn and garden equipment.

For the first nine months of its fiscal year (July 2013 through March of this year), Engines Segment sales are up 1.3%. Products Segments sales are down roughly 12%. Again, this is primarily attributable to slumping generator sales. Briggs also cites the spring growing season delay and its discontinuation of shipping lawn and garden products to mass merchants.

Economic Outlook. Briggs & Stratton’s market projections for the U.S. market remain at 4-6% higher than last year's season. The lower end of this range contemplates a later start to the spring lawn and garden selling season in the U.S., which could potentially have the impact of extending the season past the end of Briggs’ fiscal year end and into fiscal 2015. The higher side of the guidance contemplates a U.S. market higher than 6% for the season assuming that Briggs captures these sales in its fiscal fourth quarter.

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