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US retail sales predicted to be flat in 2024

Brunswick Corporation saw consolidated net sales of $1.36 billion in the last quarter of 2023 with the corporation closing the year with the second highest sales in company history after the record fourth quarter seen in 2022.

“Despite the challenging macroeconomic backdrop leading to some consumer and channel caution, resilient demand for our products and services, especially across our premium brands, together with continued cost containment and robust capital strategy execution, allowed us to deliver strong earnings and sector-leading shareholder returns, again demonstrating the robustness of our portfolio,” said David Foulkes, Brunswick CEO.

For the fourth quarter of the year, Boat segment reported a 22% decrease in sales resulting from softer wholesale orders, as dealers continuing to manage pipeline levels, together with higher levels of selective discounting.

Propulsion segment reported a 12% decrease in sales which was partially offset by continued market share gains in outboard engines and the acquisition of Fliteboard earlier in 2023.

There was a small decrease in sales for the Engine Parts and Accessories segment of 1% but the Products business grew by 3% over 2022 and the Distribution business only slightly declined as retailer stocking continued to recover.

Freedom Boat Club is opening two new locations in Spain in 2024
Freedom Boat Club contributed around 8% of sales to the Business Acceleration division

Navico Group was affected by market headwinds resulting in a 17% decrease in sales but saw a ‘solid’ finish to the year.

Freedom Boat Club, part of the Business Acceleration division, contributed around 8% of sales to the segment.

With OEM, dealer and retailer inventories ending the year at appropriate levels across all our product lines, the organisation expects dealers and retailers to begin 2024 with ‘cautious’ ordering.

Brunswick is now predicting US retail unit sales will be flat versus 2023 with net sales of between $6 billion and $6.2 billion with an operating margin of between 12% and 13%.

“2024 has the potential to be a year of steadily easing financial conditions and while we enter the year with a cautious outlook, particularly in the first quarter, we have already launched more than 15 new products across our businesses,” said David Foulkes.


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