December 3, 2023

Harley sees ‘prospects sitting on the sidelines’ amid increased rates of interest, uncertainty

Shopping for a motorbike is the sort of buy that for a lot of falls squarely within the camp of a discretionary buy. With increased rates of interest and the potential for an financial slowdown, Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson is seeing that translate to buyer habits.

“We see a whole lot of prospects sitting on the sidelines, basically placing this stage of discretionary buy to the aspect in 2023,” Edel O’Sullivan, chief business officer at Harley, stated on the corporate’s third quarter earnings name.

Harley reported total income of $1.55 billion within the third quarter, down 6% from the identical time final 12 months. In its bike phase, income was down 9% to barely lower than $1.3 billion.

Retail gross sales of Harley bikes in North America declined 15% year-over-year and are down 10% year-to-date.

“You see a whole lot of prospects, possibly even these with excessive credit score worthiness, take a look at the extent of charges and having a sure stage of charge shock and saying ‘we’re not going to pay these stage of charges,” O’Sullivan stated, noting many purchasers have years of low rates of interest nonetheless of their minds when fascinated with purchases.

In its Harley-Davidson Monetary Companies enterprise, the corporate has seen annualized retail credit score losses climb from a low of 1.2% in 2021 to 1.9% in 2022 to 2.7% within the third quarter. It’s allowance for credit score losses has additionally elevated from 5.1% at first of the 12 months to five.4% as of the third quarter.

“We’re seeing a extra burdened client,” stated Jonathan Root, chief monetary officer of Harley-Davidson.

Finally, Harley noticed its internet revenue decline almost 24% to round $198 million for the quarter and diluted earnings per share dropped from $1.78 to $1.38.

Nevertheless, shifting client behaviors was not the one issue driving the corporate’s outcomes. Late in its second quarter, Harley was pressured to cease bike meeting due to a possible regulatory compliance subject with components from one among its suppliers. Securities filings later recognized the provider, which additionally prompted a shutdown in Might 2022, as Proterial Cable America.

Jochen Zeitz, chairman and chief government officer of Harley-Davidson, stated the corporate continues to work by the influence of the shutdown, which created timing, product combine and stock challenges. He declined to estimate its influence on retail gross sales and it stays to be seen how a lot of any missed gross sales may be picked up within the fourth quarter.

“It delayed deliveries of high-demand items to the tip of Q3 somewhat than earlier within the season,” Root stated.

Nonetheless, the corporate affirmed its earlier monetary steering, which known as for its bike phase to finish the 12 months with revenues flat to up 3% and working margins of 13.9% to 14.3%. By way of the primary three quarters of the 12 months, the bike phase has seen a 2% improve in income and working margin of 17.4%.