Strong 4Q helps Nautilus to profitable 2011

Vancouver maker of fitness equipment had struggled since 2006

By Aaron Corvin, Columbian Port & Economy Reporter



Bolstered by new and revamped fitness products, Nautilus Inc. on Monday vaulted into territory that has long eluded it: profitability.

The Vancouver-based maker of fitness equipment reported a profit of roughly $3.2 million for the three-month period ended Dec. 31, or 10 cents per share. The company broke even in 2010’s fourth quarter.

For all of 2011, Nautilus posted a profit of $1.4 million. By contrast, the company saw a net loss of $22.8 million for all of 2010.

The company’s financial results mark “a quantum improvement over prior years and puts us on a path towards sustained profitable growth,” Bruce Cazenave, chief executive of Nautilus, said in a news release.

The company, which employs 320 people — most of whom work in Vancouver and Portland — reported fourth-quarter net sales of $60 million. That’s up 11.7 percent from net sales of $53.7 million during the same October-through-December period in 2010.

For all of 2011, the company had net sales of roughly $180.4 million — a 7.1 percent increase from $168.5 million in net sales for all of 2010.

The company’s direct-to-consumer business — which reaches consumers through TV and online media advertising — reported fourth-quarter net sales of $31.7 million, an increase of 12.4 percent year over year.

Driving that increase was strong demand for the company’s TreadClimber cardio machines. Stoking that demand were two forces, according to Nautilus: increased advertising effectiveness and higher consumer credit approval rates.

Meanwhile, Nautilus’ retail business showed net sales totaling $26.5 million in the fourth-quarter, a year-over-year increase of 10.8 percent.

Marketing boost

During an earnings conference call Monday, the company’s chief operating officer, Bill McMahon, said the company plans to boost its retail marketing efforts this fall, including purchasing online ads for selected products and placing ads on QVC, the televised home-shopping channel.

Nautilus had reported annual losses every year since 2006 until the first quarter of 2011, when it posted a profit of $1.6 million. Founded in 1986, Nautilus develops and sells fitness equipment and accessories. Its brand names include Nautilus, Bowflex and Schwinn Fitness.

Nautilus stock, which trades as NLS, closed up one cent Monday, at $2.65 per share. The company’s shares have traded between $1.32 and $3.45 in the past 52 weeks.

Aaron Corvin:;; 360-735-4518;