ORLANDO, Florida – Some observers forget there’s a danger in reading too much into the financial results of a company over the short term, especially a publicly traded company whose management is aware they are being judged on interim results.
Add to that if the company is in a slow-grow industry such as golf equipment, growth only comes from “eating the other guy’s lunch.” In other words, in today’s equipment market you can figure increases in sales often come from a corresponding decrease in sales by another company.
Earnings profits through capitalism can be brutal but those are the facts, and especially true in a market where price increases are out of the question. Some club manufacturers have adopted a “value pricing” model such as Tour Edge Golf with the latest Exotics EXS driver. Most of the newest technology carry a retail price of $300. Cobra Golf’s F-MAX Superlite driver targeted for use by slower swing speed players retails for $300.
Consumers are being offered a choice when compared with the largest golf manufacturers such as Callaway Golf (NYSE: ELY) retailing the top selling Rogue model or Titleist (division of Acushnet Holding Corp. NYSE: GOLF) the 2019 TS2/3 at $500.
Tour Edge is privately held and Cobra is part of the Germany-based multinational Puma, but it’s no secret both are experiencing strong sales at least in part using the “more for less” plan for at some of their club lines.
Sales of new golf balls continue to be dominated by Acushnet’s Titleist brand with Callaway a distant second followed by TaylorMade Golf and then Bridgestone Golf. Year-to-date Acushnet golf ball sales were $418.9 million compared with Callaway ball sales of $165.5 million.
In their report to investors for the third quarter both companies said they were optimistic golf equipment sales will continue to strengthen, and real growth is possible in overall market size. Sales of equipment are closely tied to the number of golfers, number of rounds they play and economic conditions.
“It has been a strong start to 2018,” commented Chip Brewer, President and Chief Executive Officer of Callaway Golf Company in a statement on their web site. “Sales across our entire product line, including the Rogue line of woods and irons as well as the new Chrome Soft golf balls,
Callaway has the largest sales in clubs reporting through the third quarter of 2018 of $798.1 million compared with Acushnet club sales of $333.8 million.
Total sales so far this year for Acushnet are $1,290.4 billion an increase of almost 7% compared with 2017. Their forecast for the entire year is $1,620 to $1,630 billion which would be up about 2.5%.
For Callaway sales through the past quarter year to date were $1,062 billion or 24% higher than last year. The company’s full year estimate is $1,230 to $1,240 billion versus $1,049 billion in 2017.
Both companies reported better profits year-to-date. In the case of Callaway, it was roughly twice the previous year and for Acushnet 10% higher. Callaway is growing quickly and Acushnet less quickly, but both have the top spot in a major market segment – Callaway in clubs and Acushnet in balls.
The important thing is to not over analyze the reported numbers especially when we have no information on the other major players in the business such as TaylorMade Golf, Cobra Golf, Tour Edge Golf, PING and Bridgestone.