Cool spring chills Briggs & Stratton

Wauwatosa-based Briggs & Stratton Corp. announced that it expects to report net sales and earnings below the guidance that it provided for fiscal 2013. The lower retail sales due to a late spring in the U.S. and Europe have not yet recovered in the current season, the company said.

Consolidated net sales for the fourth quarter and fiscal year 2013 are now expected to be approximately $475 million and $1.86 billion, respectively, the company said. Fourth fiscal quarter 2013 Engines segment net sales are expected to be approximately $300 million. Total engines shipped in the quarter were approximately 1.9 million units compared to approximately 2.1 million units in the prior year.

Through the end of June 2013, the company estimates that the retail market for walk and riding mowing equipment has decreased by approximately 3-5 percent compared to the last season.

“An extremely slow start to the spring lawn and garden season and a cautious approach to managing inventories after last year’s drought has impacted the U.S. and European markets through the end of June,” said Todd J. Teske, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “In response to the lower retail sales, almost all channel participants including mass retailers, dealers, and equipment OEMs have been cautiously managing inventories and therefore have been slow to re-order for the current season. Equipment OEMs have reduced production levels compared to last year and thus we reduced our engine production in the quarter negatively impacting absorption of plant operating costs in the near term.”

However the company said it expects better results in fiscal 2014 with a strengthening U.S. lawn and garden market and continued expansion and growth in certain international markets.

“We have seen the retail market strengthening in May and June and continuing into July as we compare to last year’s drought-impacted summer season and we believe inventory levels at our dealers are in great shape heading into our next fiscal year,” Teske said.

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