MONTREAL, Quebec (BRAIN)—Dorel Industries’ CEO Martin Schwartz told company shareholders on Thursday that he expected momentum in the bike business to continue into 2010 buoyed by innovative new products and rebounding consumer confidence.
The recreation and leisure segment, which includes Cannondale, GT, Schwinn, Mongoose, Iron Horse, Sugoi, Pacific Cycle and two international distributors, made up 32 percent of Dorel’s bottom line in 2009, bringing in $681 million.
In the first quarter of 2010, bike sales were up $20 million over the first quarter of last year with significant improvements at the mass merchant level thanks to early spring weather bringing consumers back to retail.
“Things are off to a most encouraging start,” Schwartz told the crowd at the company’s annual shareholders meeting at the Omni Hotel in Montreal. “Retail sales have spiked over the past couple of months both in the independent bike dealers and the mass merchant levels. These are of course the key selling months for bikes and we are encouraged with current in-store POS levels. …There’s every indication that this momentum will continue over next few months.”
Future growth lies heavily in the hands of Dorel’s focus on innovation, Schwartz said.
“Frankly we had some catch up to do after purchasing Cannondale two years ago. With the changes we’ve made, our design, product development and manufacturing team has executed superbly. The Cannondale products are the best ever and the results are clear. A record number of new dealers were added in the past few months, many in key markets such as the Los Angeles area, Northern California and Colorado."
Growth is also expected in the custom apparel and footwear division. Earlier this month, Dorel unveiled a new 70,000 square foot headquarters for the division, anchored by Sugoi, in Burnaby, British Columbia
Schwartz also said the company would consider additional acquisitions in the coming year across all spectrums of its business, which also includes juvenile and home furnishing products.