Callaway, Acushnet Down

Both Callaway and Fortune Brands/Acushnet (Titleist, Pinnacle, Cobra, Footjoy) have reported falling sales during the first quarter of the year.

For Fortune Brands, net sales in the first quarter were down 12.5 percent from the same period of 2008. Operating income was down an astounding 82%, but a good deal of that was due to a $25.7 million restructuring charge. Still, the company has laid off 169 employees at its golf ball factories.

Meanwhile, Callaway says sales were down 26% in the first quarter, as compared to the previous year. That, following a $3.2 million loss in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Callaway execs say that they expect the industry as a whole will be off 20% this year.

I frankly would be surprised if it’s not more. Golf clubs don’t wear out. While I’m convinced that all of the mojo has leaked out of my sticks, I won’t be buying any new ones this summer. My old ones are “good enough,” and I’ll wait for better days.

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