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Home ONE TIME THING OR MORE WHERE THAT CAME FROM?

TaylorMade-adidas Golf (TMaG) reported its third quarter sales were $280 million (EUR 210 million) down 25.8% from a year ago. The third leg of the year hasn’t been the friendliest to the company in 2013, which bills itself as the largest golf company in the world. Last year, TMAG third quarter sales were EUR 283, EUR 73 million higher than this year’s results. Two years ago, the equipment company reported third quarter sales of EUR 244. The most recent results represents a significant step backwards. Year-to-date through September 2013, TMaG said company sales were $1.3 billion (EUR 981 million). In the comparable period in 2012, TaylorMade sales were EUR 1.07 billion. According to TaylorMade’s parent company, adidas, sales year-to-date are down due to decreases in metalwoods and irons.

“We believe the industry will rebound in 2014 from the 10% YTD drop in the U.S. metalwood market size and 6% drop in U.S. rounds played that have impacted growth in 2013,” said Mark King, TaylorMade CEO and President. According to the company, it owns 38% of the metalwood marketshare in the U.S., year-to-date, and 27% in the iron category.

TaylorMade reported year-to-date sales increases iron, footwear and apparel categories, which it said grew 3%, 13% and 4% respectively compared to the prior year.  Regionally, the U.S., which accounts for more than half of TMaG’s global sales, grew 3%. These figures, provided by TaylorMade, likely don’t reflect the impact of foreign exchange rates as its parent company stated to the investment community that iron sales are down over the nine months of 2013. But it doesn’t keep the equipment giant from attempting to spin the narrative in a more favorable light with other media outlets. “Strong equipment sales combined with our growth in the footwear and apparel categories have us on track to surpass the unprecedented $2 billion sales barrier by 2015,” King predicted.

The company has its sights set on overtaking FootJoy in the footwear category, which it is currently runner up to. King expects continued growth in the category to put the company on pace to overtake the top spot in footwear by 2015. TaylorMade’s parent, adidas, did not share the most important piece of information on its golf business, the bottom line. Perhaps that is a foregone conclusion given the set back it received in the third quarter.

It’s important to recognize that a quarter doesn’t make a year, nor for that matter a trend. While TaylorMade pointed to the overall soft market conditions, referencing year-to-date rounds played in 2013 and the metalwood category specifically, not every company’s progress was impeded in the recent reporting period. Case in point, Callaway reported metalwood sales increased 81% in the 2013 third quarter and 26% year-to-date. Overall sales at Callaway were up 38% on a constant currency basis excluding businesses sold or transitioned and 13% year-to-date. These two companies in particular are strong rivals to each other. It appears each is headed in the opposite direction at this point in time, based strictly on their respective sales figures regardless of the market conditions.