Snowmobile sales down for quarter and year

Polaris Industries, the Medina, Minn.-based power sports company that makes Polaris snowmobiles, has reported record fourth quarter earnings, a 21% increase from a year ago. Income was $43.9 million vs. $36.2 million in last year's fourth quarter.

"Our record fourth quarter earnings represent a fitting end to a challenging year for Polaris," said Scott Wine, Polaris' chief executive officer.

While the quarterly numbers showed major improvement, income for the full year were down 13% from $117.4 million last year to $101 million for fiscal 2009, which ended Dec. 31.

Sales for the full year were $1.56 billion a decrease of 20% compared to record sales of $1.94 billion in 2008.

"Our fast reaction during the economic downturn and continued focus on operational excellence enabled us to support our dealers with reduced inventories and drive factory inventory down 19%," Wine said.  

Snowmobile sales were off, posting a decrease of 14% for the fourth quarter and 13% for the entire year. Polaris attributed the decrease to the weak economy.

Off-road vehicle sales fell 12% in the fourth quarter and 22% for the year. This reflects Polaris's Max Velocity Program, which requires lower dealer inventory levels, the company said.

The on-road vehicle division, including Victory motorcycles, saw sales dip 12% in the fourth quarter compared to the same quarter in 2008. Sales for the year were down 44%.

The lone segment with a gain this quarter was Polaris' parts, garments and accessories division, which saw sales increase 2% in the quarter due to increased demand in snowmobile and Ranger side-by-side related items. However, for the year, PG&A sales were down 9%.

Polaris, also, noted its'cash level improved to $140.2 million at the end of the year compared with $27.1 million at the end of 2008.