Shimano said a mild economic expansion in Europe, a buoyant labor market in North America, and a moderate recovery Japan contributed to a 5.1 percent net sales increase in its bicycle division in the opening quarter of 2018, compared to the same period last year.
The bike division notched sales of 68 billion yen ($626 million) in the quarter. Operating income for the division increased 5.5 percent over the prior year, to 14.8 billion yen.
“In the U.S., consumer sentiment was strong, driven by the buoyant labor market, and business conditions turned firmer, mainly in the manufacturing sector,” the company said in its quarterly report Tuesday. “In North America, although retail sales of completed bicycles were sluggish at the beginning of the year, distributor inventories maintained an appropriate level.”
Shimano said sales of completed bikes in Europe — mainly e-bikes — have been robust since the start of the second half of last year. It noted its STEPS E8000 e-bike drive system and its updated Ultegra Di2 disc brake groups were well received.
Across the company, Shimano saw a 13.2 percent increase in net sales in its fishing division, where sales totaled 17 billion yen. Companywide sales were up 6.7 percent to 85 billion yen, while operating income climbed 10.9 percent to 16.9 billion yen.
The strong start to 2018 followed a solid 2017, when sales were up 4.1 percent for the full year.