FILE PHOTO: Harley-Davidson motorcycles stand in a garage at Harley-Davidson dealer in Wrigleyville neighborhood, in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., July 13, 2022. REUTERS/Bianca Flowers
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By Bianca Flowers
(Reuters) — Harley-Davidson Inc (NYSE:HOG) on Wednesday reported higher-than-expected profit, briefly sending shares up 11% as consumer demand for its popular bike models and price increases during the summer riding season boosted sales.
Shares of the iconic motorcycle maker soared in early market trading after the company reported a 60% jump in quarterly profit, outpacing analyst estimates.
Discretionary spending on travel and leisure approached pre-pandemic levels as consumers were eager to splurge with COVID-19 restrictions lifting. While many Americans have pulled back on spending due to high inflation, higher-income consumers have been unfazed so far.
«Harley’s customer base does tend to skew older,» said Ivan Feinseth, chief investment officer at Tigress Financial Partners LLC, adding that the company benefits from a strong brand.
Global motorcycle shipments rebounded strongly following the company’s production suspension in mid-May with units up 19% to 57,100 from 47,900 a year ago. While the company has ramped up production in an effort to replenish showroom floors with its most profitable models, worldwide retail sales were down 2% from a year prior.
Even with low dealer inventory levels in North America, its largest market, the Milwaukee-based company’s motorcycle profitability is the strongest in five years, William Blair analyst Ryan Sundby said in a research note.
Chief Executive Jochen Zeitz reaffirmed Harley’s full-year revenue growth outlook of 5% to 10% for motorcycle units and operating income margin of 11% to 12% on strong demand.
Harley’s earnings beat rival Polaris (NYSE:PII) Inc, which also topped Wall Street’s expectations.
Sales from Harley’s motorcycles and related products rose about 24% to $1.44 billion in the quarter ended Sept. 25, while operating income for motorcycles and related parts soared 164% from a year earlier.
Net profit rose to $261 million, or $1.78 per share, topping estimates of $1.40 per share.
Revenue rose 21% to $1.65 billion compared with $1.36 billion a year ago.