HUSKVARNA, Sweden May 19 Garden equipment maker
Husqvarna (HUSQb.ST) said on Wednesday it still saw a low
single-digit percentage rise in demand this year as markets
recovered from the lows hit in the wake of the financial crisis.
Demand for gardening products was slammed by the economic
downturn last year and retailers on both sides of the Atlantic
have been careful about scaling up inventories amid lingering
doubts over the strength of the recovery in consumer spending.
"I think there is an overall recovery in the market,"
Husqvarna Chief Executive Magnus Yngen told Reuters on the
sidelines of a capital market day for investors and analysts.
"It is not that we see any strong recovery, but that there
is hope that there is no further decline and rather a slight
recovery along the lines of the odd percent."
Yngen also said Husqvarna stood by its forecast issued in
April for sales in the second quarter being in line with last
year's, but said it was getting positive signals from retailers
though these were still cautious.
"The tone is more optimistic," he said. "They (retailers)
are extremely cautious, but it still feels a bit better."
"If the spring season does not suddenly end, I think we will
have a slight growth in demand ... My gut feeling is that the
market has bottomed out and that we've have seen the worst."
Yngen also repeated Husqvarna, which makes lawn mowers,
chain saws as well as diamond-tipped tools for the construction
industry, would have difficulty regaining this year volumes lost
during the downturn in the United States, its biggest market.
(Reporting by Katarina Gustafsson; writing by Niklas
Pollard; editing by Elaine Hardcastle)