In the 2017 financial year sales at Rapala VMC Corporation were 3% down from the year before. Pure Fishing also reported a drop in 4th quarter sales, but strong growth in outdoor and team sport sales resulted in 6.6% sales growth for Newell Brands’ Play division in the quarter.

Rapala VMC Corp, which reported net sales of €253.3m, singled out concerns such as operational challenges at its Indonesian manufacturing facility, retail turmoil in North America, which saw two of its key customers enter Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and declining market conditions in Russia and France as reasons for its poor performance in the 2017 financial year.

“The ongoing structural changes in the US retail market had a negative impact on our sales and profitability as consumers are increasingly going online,” says President and CEO Jussi Ristimäki. “We are responding to this by making more investments in our digital presence and by increased focus on customers operating online.”

“One of the key priorities for 2018 is to generate a significant profitability improvement at our Indonesian lure factory,” he adds.

The carp business, its Marttiini knives, and the successful turnarounds in the Canadian and Southeast Asia markets are positive highlights from this past financial year.

Newell Brands only acquired the former Jarden (Coleman, Campingaz, Rawlings) and Pure Fishing brands (including Abu Garcia, Berkley, Penn, Greys, Sebile, Shakespeare, etc.) in April 2016 and full year comparative growth was therefore not possible for its Play division.

In the 4th quarter the Play division, which includes Pure Fishing, outdoor brands like Marmot, Contigo, Coleman and Campingaz and Team Sport (Rawlings), grew sales 6.6% to $563m.  Core sales grew 5.4%, with strong growth of Coleman, Contigo, Marmot and Team Sports partially offset by declines in Fishing. The division’s reported operating income was $51.1-m, compared to $37.6-m in the year before.

As part of its transformation plan, Newell Brands plans to focus on nine core consumer divisions (approximately $11-bn in net sales) and will sell off smaller businesses.