Too little water, and then too much. That’s a very abbreviated description of the conditions in the United States that tugged at Briggs & Stratton (IW 500/350) in 2012. For the outdoor power equipment company, drought and then flooding had different results.
Last year, a light snow season impacted Briggs & Stratton’s sales of snow blowers and also helped set up the most severe drought to hit the country in 50 years. According to the Department of Agriculture, approximately 80 percent of the agricultural land in the country was impacted by drought conditions.
Briggs & Stratton’s CEO, Todd Teske, 47, notes 2012 started off hopefully as there were signs that the U.S. housing market had begun to recover. That and a warm spring helped company sales get off to a good start. But then came the drought, and lawnmower sales tanked. “I didn’t mow my lawn for seven weeks,” he recalls.
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– Steve Minter