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Harley Cuts Back


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[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,Sans Serif]Hefty cutbacks at Harley-Davidson[/FONT]

[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,Sans Serif]A weak economy has Harley-Davidson (HOG) cutting back again. The Milwaukee-based motorcycle manufacturer said Thursday it will cut 730 jobs as it trims output to adjust for a downturn in demand. The company also slashed its 2008 earnings forecast, saying it expects to ship some 25,000 fewer bikes this year than it did last year.[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,Sans Serif]“With growing weakness in the economy, U.S. retail sales of Harley-Davidson motorcycles were down 12.8% in the first quarter,” said CEO Jim Ziemer. “Although these retail results are disappointing, Harley-Davidson’s U.S. dealers outperformed the heavyweight motorcycle industry, which was down 14%.”[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,Sans Serif]For the first quarter, Harley was able to weather the storm. Harley made $188 million, or 79 cents a share, for the quarter ended March 31, compared with the year-ago $192 million, or 74 cents a share. Revenue rose 11% from a year ago to $1.31 billion. Those numbers beat the expectations of Wall Street analysts, who were looking for a 77-cent profit on revenue of $1.23 billion.[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial,Helvetica,Sans Serif]But the company said it now expects earnings for 2008 to fall to $3 to $3.18 a share from last year’s $3.74 a share. Back in January, Harley had forecast 4% to 7% growth. Shares fell 50 cents to $36.29 in pre-market trading.[/FONT]