Easton-Bell Sports sales hurt by long winter

VAN NUYS, Calif. — A late spring meant fewer sales of cycling products during January, February and March, hurting Easton-Bell Sports' first-quarter results.

The company, which has major manufacturing and distribution facilities on U.S. 136 east of Rantoul, reported a net loss of $2.06 million in the first quarter, compared with net income of $1.35 million during the same quarter last year.

Easton-Bell had net sales of $207 million in the first quarter, down 4 percent from a year earlier. Besides the drop in cycling-product sales, other factors affecting overall sales included:

— A decrease in sales of Easton hockey sticks because of excess retail inventories.

— The company's exit from the fitness-product category.

— Gains in market share for Riddell football products, Easton baseball/softball products and Giro footwear.

— The introductions of the Easton Mako hockey skate line and Giro cycling apparel.

Easton-Bell said its adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization were $19.9 million in the first quarter, down from $22.6 million a year earlier.

But excluding severance costs for several recently departed executives, the adjusted earnings figure was actually higher than a year earlier — $24.1 million, up 6.6 percent.

Easton-Bell Sports, based in Van Nuys, employed 2,352 at the end of 2012. It has manufacturing, assembly and distribution facilities in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Sweden, China and Taiwan and is building an 815,000-square-foot assembly and distribution facility in Rantoul.

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