In its report to investors, Shimano said: “Restrictions on outings because of lockdowns in many countries impacted sales of fishing products in the first half of the year. However as these were relaxed fishing regained attention as a leisure activity and demand for products increased.
“Under these conditions, in the Japanese market sales remained favourable, reflected by the increase in the number of new customers. In the fourth quarter, sales of mid-range and popular price range products were especially favourable, supported by good weather.
“Overseas, new products in the North American market were well received. Despite some regions being in lockdown in Europe due to a further surge in infections, sales remained strong as growth in e-commerce sales for fishing tackle encouraged a diversification in sales channels.
“Chinese sales remained robust as the nation emerged from COVID-19 rapidly, while in Australia, where the fishing season began in the fourth quarter, sales also remained favourable.”
It added that orders for new products were also good, highlighting the Zodias bass rods equipped with HI-POWER X and the BB-X SPECIAL series of sticks. It added that the Vanford (main picture) and Saragosa SW reels were also well received.
Shimano added that there are some promising signs of economic recovery as vaccinations to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are rolled out, but some uncertainties still remain. “Meanwhile, with a view to preventing the spread of the virus, interest in outdoor leisure activities that avoid close-contact is expected to continue.”
With that in mind, the group is bullish about its financial performance in 2021 and has predicted sales of 455,500m yen – a 20.5% increase on the year just ended.
Despite a year blighted by the pandemic across the globe, the Finland-based tackle giant reported that for the year ended December 31st, 2020 comparable operating profit was up to €21.5m (2019: €17.8m) on net sales of €261.3m, down 5% on the previous year.
President and CEO, Nicolas Warchalowski told investors: “We achieved great results in a truly exceptional year and consequently comparable operating profit improved at the same time when we increased operating cash flow from €25.9m to €42.5m.
“In addition to these improved financial results we made great leaps in our strategy execution and finalised for the most part the restructuring programme initiated in October 2019. Key highlights were the ramp-down of the Asian lure manufacturing operations and establishing a new centralised distribution centre in Estonia, which enabled the continued decrease in our warehouse footprint on our way to a more centralised and simplified operating model.
“As importantly, the renewed organisational structure and fewer management layers will make us more growth orientated and increase drastically decision-making speed.”