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Harley-Davidson Earnings Beat Forecasts

First-quarter motorcycle sales grow by more than 20%


Rising sales of motorcycles boosted Harley-Davidson‘s (NYSE:HOG) first-quarter earnings and the company beat expectations, sending shares up about 5% in Wednesday afternoon trading.

The company earned $172 million, or 74 cents per share, up from $119.3 million, or 51 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Wall Street analysts had predicted EPS of 72 cents.

Revenues of $1.43 billion also were up from last year’s $1.22 billion. Quarterly motorcycle sales accounted for $995.9 million in revenue, while sales of parts and accessories brought in $199.1 million. Company-branded apparel sales rose 19.2%, generating $74.6 million.

Gross margins rose to 35.9% during the first quarter, up from 33.1% during the same time last year.

Worldwide retail sales of 59,677 motorcycles were up 20.3%, with U.S. retail sales of 39,762 units jumping 25.5% compared to Q1 2011.

Harley-Davidson noted that it remained the leading motorcycle brand for key demographic segments, including young adults ages 18-34, women, African American and Hispanic riders.

HOG also boosted its full-year shipment guidance to a range of 245,000-250,000 motorcycles from a previous estimate of 240,000-245,000.

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