Harley Davidson 4Q Sales Beat Street as U.S. Demand Soars

By RetailFOXBusiness

Hurt by slightly weaker motorcycle revenue and restructuring costs, Harley Davidson (NYSE:HOG) revealed fourth-quarter earnings just shy of Wall Street expectations on Tuesday.

The company, however, boasted an increase in new U.S. bike sales and forecast stronger total shipments in 2013.

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The Milwaukee, Wis.-based motorcycle maker posted adjusted earnings of $70.6 million, or 31 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier $105.7 million, or 46 cents. Analysts on average had been calling for 32 cents a share.

Revenue for the three-month period fell by 1.5% to $1.01 billion from $1.18 billion a year ago, widely trumping the Street’s view of $977 million.

Revenue from motorcycles during the quarter slid 2.6% to $771.1 million, however, Harley said quarterly retail sales of new motorcycles climbed 7.5% during the quarter, including an increase of 8.4% in the U.S., Harley’s largest market.

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"The ambitious restructuring of our manufacturing operations, aimed at delivering better responsiveness for customers and greater operating efficiency, is now largely behind us," said Harley CEO Keith Wandell.

Shares of Harley climbed to a 52-week high of $54.41 Tuesday morning, pushing them up about 21% from 52 weeks ago.

The bike manufacturer expects to ship 259,000 motorcycles worldwide in 2013, an approximate increase of 4.5% to 6.5% from 2012. In the first quarter, it anticipates shipping 71,000 to 76,000 bikes, marking 10% to 18% growth from last year.