Johnson Outdoors streamlines Watercraft business

Racine-based Johnson Outdoors Inc. unveiled a plan to improve the profit profile of its Watercraft business.

The effort includes a restructuring of the unit’s U.S. and European operations and streamlining at its Old Town, Maine facility. Specifically, the Watercraft business bill transition to a lower-cost local independent distributor business model in Europe by the end of July.
Watercraft research and development and marketing will move to Old Town, Maine, from Bellingham, W.Va., over the next year, consolidating all U.S. Watercraft personnel at one location to quicken the pace of new product development and speed-to-market.
The company will streamline the Old Town plant due to the capture the strategic synergies between Watercraft and Outdoor Gear.
In total, 17 positions in the United States and 11 in Europe will be eliminated because of the streamlining.
“Last fall, we combined Watercraft and Outdoor Gear units to drive progress against a specialty channel growth platform and return Watercraft to profitability. Today’s actions are necessary to best position the business for future success and increase the velocity of meaningful innovation for paddling enthusiasts,” said Helen Johnson-Leipold, chairman and chief executive officer of Johnson Outdoors. “We remain committed to building long-term value for our customers and our shareholders, and are confident today’s actions will help us do so.”
As a result of these actions, the company anticipates annual cost-savings of $2.0 million by the end of fiscal 2014. Total costs and charges associated with the actions are estimated between $2.0 million and $2.5 million to be incurred over the next 12 months.

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