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BRP Inc (NASDAQ:DOOO)
Q3 2021 Earnings Call
Nov 25, 2020, 9:00 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the BRP's Q3 FY 2021 Earnings Call.

I would now like to turn the meeting over to Mr. Philippe Deschenes. Please go ahead, Mr. Deschenes.

Philippe Deschenes -- Manager, Treasury and Investor Relations

Thank you, Mal. Good morning and welcome to BRP's conference call for the third quarter of fiscal year '21. Joining me this morning are Jose Boisjoli, President and Chief Executive Officer; and Sebastien Martel, Chief Financial Officer.

Before we move to the prepared remarks, I would like to remind everyone that certain forward-looking statements will be made during the call that are subject to a number of risk and uncertainty. I invite you to read BRP's MD&A for a listing of these. Also, during the call, reference will be made to supporting slides and you will find the presentation on our website at brp.com under the Investor Relations section.

So, with that, I'll turn the call over to Jose.

Jose Boisjoli -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Philippe. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us. As you know, fiscal year '21 has been a very volatile year for us. Once the temporary shutdown were lift, we're able to resume production at full capacity, has taken special measure to manage our supply chain and have been especially vigilant about protecting our people. Given the increased popularity of our product, we feel fortunate to be where we are during this time of international instability. It has been an exceptional period and it's not over yet.

I would like to start by thanking the remarkable dedication of our people, dealers and suppliers who have risen to the occasion and allow us to continue to deliver incredible results while still ensuring the health and safety of our team everywhere around the world. As you are aware, interest in the Powersports sector remains very high and our strong line-up continue to allow us to outpace the industry worldwide. Although we faced some production challenges, we were able to manage them and we are delivering units in line with our plan.

Let's turn to Slide 4 for the financial highlights of this third quarter. Our revenue for the quarter were up 2%, driven by Year-Round Products, partially offset by lower wholesales of Seasonal Products due to a change in timing of Personal Watercraft production. Our gross profit margin came in much better than expected at 29.1% as the continued strong consumer demand allow us to reduce our promotional activity and drove a richer product mix than planned.

Our normalized EBITDA ended the quarter up 30% to CAD349 million, resulting in a normalized earnings per share of CAD2.13, up 41% over last year. We expect this positive trend to continue over the next quarter and beyond. And based on this, we are increasing our year-end guidance with revenue now expected to be down 1% to 5%, normalized EPS up 31% to 37% to a range of CAD5 to CAD5.25.

As I mentioned earlier, the demand for our product remain exceptionally strong in the quarter leading to our North American Powersports retail being up 16% year-over-year. When excluding Personal Watercraft, for which network inventory was at an all-time low, at the quarter of -- at the start of the quarter, our North American Powersports retail was up 29% compared to an industry that was up mid-teen percentage. The strength and diversity of our product portfolio also led to solid retail growth of 16% in Latin America and 22% in Asia-Pacific. Only EMEA experienced a retail decline in the quarter with retails down 9% due to inventory shortage.

Looking now at North American retail by product line on Slide 6. Again, this quarter, we have delivered solid growth across the powersports product portfolio. Side-by-side and ATV boat outpaced our industry with very strong retail results, up about 30% and low 20% respectively. Three-wheeled vehicle ended the season on a strong note with retail up about 60%. I remind you that this is on top of a high of 60% growth in the same quarter last year.

Snowmobile is off to a good start for the season with Ski-Doo retail already up low 20%. And Personal Watercraft was our only product that was down in Q3 as it was for the rest of the industry. As I already mentioned, this was due to the network inventory being at an all-time low both in North America and in international markets at the beginning of the quarter. We are pleased with the strength of our line-up, which continue to gain share in this very healthy industry backdrop.

Now onto Slide 7 and the current trend in our industry. Like others in the Powersports business, we are seeing continued consumer interest and we have delivered another quarter of robust powersports retail growth. For Q3, our powersports retail is up 29% when excluding Personal Watercraft following a strong retail pattern throughout the quarter. For example, the RV industry had its best month in the quarter in October in terms of growth. And we saw this year the best start of the snowmobile season we have observed in five years. This solid growth is coming from both new entrant and returner [Phonetic] customer, who have decided to expand or extend their interest in Powersports.

Based on a survey we conducted recently, we estimate that 34% of buyers were new entrants. We are feeling optimistic that this strong level of consumer interest is something that can be sustained. In part, this is due to the continued strong consideration for our products shown online with, for example, Can-Am Off-Road Vehicle website visits up 59% in October compared to last year.

In Personal Watercraft, preseason customer certificate were already up 12% at the end of October versus the entire full season October to March last year. We also known our three-wheeled vehicle rider education program. Daily registration is trending at twice last year level since the beginning of November. So the interest does not appear to be slowing down. With our retail and production plan aligned to this current and projected growth, we believe we are well positioned to capitalize on the growing consumer interest in powersports.

Turning to Slide 8. I would like to talk about our recent product introduction. In 2020, our traditional launch model for new product evolved to be exclusively virtual. We held two global virtual events in the third quarter, one for Can-Am and one for Sea-Doo. These were both very popular, had over 80% attendance by our dealers around the world and allowed us to reach a growing consumer audience at the same time. Future events will include many of the same elements to reach an even broader audience.

Regarding our product introduction, in the side-by-side utility segment, we enforce our premium offering by having a very -- our very popular CAB with HVAC in the Lone Star package to our Long Box line up with the introduction of the Defender PRO Limited and Defender PRO Lone Star considered to be the best in the industry.

We also strengthened our mud lineup with the introduction of an improved Visco-Lok -- 4Lok at the ATV industry best four-wheel drive system, which provides equal power to all four wheels at the push of a button, providing an even more agile ride. As for Sea-Doo, our model year '21 lineup includes industry-leading acceleration and control with a completely redesigned RXP-X 300, which include the performance-inspired Ergolock-R system, which hold the rider in the perfect position.

We also took the onboard experience to the next level with the launch of the 7.8-inch wide full color LCD display, the industry-first app-enabled Bluetooth display providing full control of music, navigation, weather and more. These product introductions were very well received by dealers and the media and booking was very solid.

Now let's turn to Slide 9 for the year-round product highlight. Revenue were up 11% driven by lower sales program in the richer mix. Meanwhile, volume of units sold was slightly lower than last year due to many of the units produced being in transit to replenish our international yard inventory despite increasing our product number -- production numbers as mentioned during our Q2 call. These units are expected to be sold over the coming quarters.

On the retail side, four months into the season '21, the North American side-by-side industry is up low-20%. Can-Am side-by-side continue gaining share, especially in the utility segment, with retail up low-30%. The ATV industry is also four months into its season '21 and retail is up high-20%. Can-Am is also up high-20% over the same period. The demand for off-road lineup is very strong and we believe we could have sold additional units had we been able to supply more of them. We have broken ground on the construction of our new side-by-side manufacturing facility in Mexico having 50% of side-by-side production capacity. The project is progressing on plan and is expected to be ready for operation by fall 2021.

Now looking at the three-wheeled vehicle. The North American three-wheeled industry ended the season '20 on October 30th with retail up low-teen-percent. Our Can-Am three-wheeled vehicle retail was up low-20% over the same period, gaining share in both the three-wheeled vehicle and two-wheeled motorcycle industries. This season was very successful for our three-wheeled vehicle business. Once schools were allowed to reopen, our rider education program continued to attract many potential customers and we now have over 31,000 course completed with a better-than-anticipated conversion rate to new and used units of over 45%.

We also launched the Can-Am Women's Mentorship program. This program is designed to help overcome the barrier that have traditionally held women back for experiencing the pleasure of riding through inclusivity and education. We already have over 6,000 active highly engaged members. And the program has been given significant coverage from magazines such as Forbes and Rolling Stone. We are pleased with the traction we have with this program and the positive feedback received from participants as well as its potential going forward.

And finally, Ryker had another very good season. Over 50% of Ryker customers are new entrants compared to slightly more than 40% last year. We were also successful in attracting key buyer group with over a third being women, almost three-quarter of rider under the age of 55 and almost half from diverse communities compared to one-third last season. The Ryker has definitely been successful at attracting a younger and more diverse customer base, growing our total addressable market. With these different initiatives, we are paving the way for new entrants to join our sport and to continue to grow the business.

Turning to Seasonal Products on Slide 11. Seasonal Products revenue were down 8%, probably due to a change in production schedule for Personal Watercraft versus last year. The lower shipment volume were partially offset by lower sales programs.

Now, looking at retail, the North American Personal Watercraft industry ended season '20 on September 30th with retail up mid-single digit. Sea-Doo retail was also up mid-single digit percentage for the season. With the success of the new GTI platform, Sea-Doo took the number one position in the recreational segment and now lead every segment in the industry in North America. Sea-Doo is also off to a good start in the season in counter-seasonal market with retail up high-20% in Australia/New Zealand and up mid-30% in Latin America.

Given the strong demand for this product compounded by the production shutdown we experienced in Q2, we ended the season with network inventory at an all-time low, down 95% from last year. With this low level of inventory and a stronger trend in consumer certificate, we are expecting a strong performance for Personal Watercraft business next year.

Looking at Snowmobile. While it's still early in the season, the North American industry retail is up mid-teen percent. Ski-Doo retail is up high-20% over the same period despite a lower level of inventory available in the network. Given that demand for Snowmobile does not appear to be diminishing, we have decided to extend our production schedule until mid-January for season '21. This is accounted for in our increased guidance.

Continuing with the look at Powersports Parts, Accessories and Apparel and OEM Engines, the same phenomenon we have observed with vehicle likewise hold for parts, accessories and apparel. Revenue were up 15%, driven by the higher volume of PA&A coming from strong unit retail sales and higher replacement parts revenue as a result of increased usage of products by consumers. The focus we have placed on our LinQ Accessories lineup is paying us.

Looking at Marine, revenue were down 25% in the quarter driven by the wind-down of the Evinrude outboard engine line. At the retail level, the positive momentum continued for Manitou and Telwater, both delivering mid-30% retail growth. Alumacraft saw a slight decline in retail due to limited product availability. Since during this period, we have been consolidating our operation into St. Peter, Minnesota facility and closed the Arkadelphia plant. We are pleased with the performance of our boat brand and the progress we are making on our strategy to transform the marine industry. We look forward to sharing with you soon more detail on our latest initiative.

With that, I will turn the call over to Sebastian.

Sebastien Martel -- Chief Financial Officer

Thank you, Jose. And good morning, everyone. We achieved very strong results for the third quarter as we delivered on our production plan and benefited from the continued robust demand for products, which led to lower than [Technical Issues] and a richer-than-anticipated product mix.

Our revenues reached a record level for the third quarter at CAD1.7 billion, up 2% over last year's third quarter. Our gross profit margin ended at 29.1%, representing a 220 basis point increase driven by favorable impacts from volume, mix, pricing and sales programs and partly offset by unfavorable foreign exchange rate variations.

Our normalized dividend was up 30% to CAD349 million, driven by improved adjusted gross profit margin and lower operating expenses as a result of the cost saving measures we have implemented earlier this year to mitigate the COVID impact. This resulted in a normalized EPS of CAD2.13, up 41% from last year. The strong performance also translated in a solid free cash flow generation of CAD228 million in the quarter, bolstering our financial flexibility as we ended the quarter with CAD1.3 billion of cash on the balance sheet.

Looking more details at our revenue by product category and geography on Slide 15. As Jose mentioned, our revenue growth in the quarter was primarily driven by Year-Round Products and Parts, Accessories and Apparel and OEM Engine product categories. In terms of regional breakdown, our revenues were up 6% in Canada, up 7% in the United States and down 10% in international, due to having very low level of yard inventory in many regions. This is why a good portion of our increase in production in the quarter was allocated to rebuilding international yard inventory.

Turning to Slide 16. Our quarterly normalized net income was up about CAD54 million from last year, driven by volume, mix, pricing and sales program for a favorable impact of CAD77 million and lower operating expenses for CAD18 million. These elements were partly offset by higher financing costs and normalized tax expense for CAD42 million.

Turning to Slide 17 for a look at our network inventory position. Both our North American network inventory and our yard inventory remained at low levels this quarter with a year-over-year decline of 53% and 39% respectively, driven by the continued exceptional demand for our products. In terms of network inventory, all of our products are seeing declines versus last year, with the exception of three-wheel, which inventory is more flat compared to last year as we already started shipping model year '21 units for the upcoming season.

Again, we are taking the necessary actions to manage the growth in our business and meet the strong demand for our products. This is why we have decided to extend the Snowmobile production schedule by a few weeks and have increased production line speed for ORV and Personal Watercraft. As we already saw over the last quarter that as most of the OEMs were competing on a more equal footing in terms of network inventory, we were back to gaining market share and we are confident that as we rebuild inventory and maintain our fast pace of product introductions, we will continue outpacing our industry.

And now the guidance update on Slide 18. Our third quarter results came in well ahead of our expectations driven by the continued strong consumer demand for our products, which resulted in lower sales programs and a richer product mix and consequently better-than-anticipated gross profit margins. Accounting for these strong Q3 results and the expectation that we will continue benefiting from lower levels of sales program and a richer mix in the fourth quarter, we are now expecting our year-end results to be significantly better than our initial guidance, which we introduced last August.

In terms of revenue, other than the elements I just mentioned, our guidance is also impacted by the extension of the Snowmobile production schedule and the continued strength in our PA&A business. Based on these factors, our revenue guidance ranges are now down 2% to up 2% for Year-Round Products, down 2% to 5% for Seasonal Products, up 5% to 7% for PA&A and OEM Engines, and down 25% to 30% for Marine, which, as you remember, was impacted by the wind-down of the outboard engine business. This results in total company revenue guidance of down 1% to 5%, reviewed upward from down 5% to 9%.

Also, based on the same positive elements, our normalized EBITDA expectation has been significantly improved and we now expect it to grow between 20% and 24% for the year, resulting in a normalized EPS that is expected to grow 31% to 37% to a range of CAD5 to CAD5.25. Our guidance range remains wider than usual for this time of the year as we still face uncertainties related to the coronavirus.

While we have put in place strong measures to protect our employees, we are not immune to the potential risks that the virus could represent on the economy, our dealers and our suppliers, which could lead to reduced demand, lower production or increased costs, hence, the wider range. As you can appreciate, the guidance does not reflect the impact of more comprehensive confinement measures that could be implemented with the second wave, similar -- measures similar to what we saw last spring.

Finally, given the strength of our balance sheet and our positive outlook for the business, the Board of Directors has approved the launch of the normal course issuer bid and the reinstatement of our quarterly dividend starting in the fourth quarter. We believe these initiatives allow us to enhance the return we provide to our shareholders, while preserving the necessary financial flexibility to operate the business in these uncertain times while continuing to invest in our long-term growth.

With this, I will turn the call back to Jose.

Jose Boisjoli -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Sebastien. As you recall pre-COVID, our growth trajectory at the end of fiscal year '20 was very positive with retail growth in all product lines at 15% in an industry that was up mid-single-digit. The surge in demand has offered a major opportunity for us to continue this space and we are working hard to maintain it during this period. Although we recognize the pandemic is far from over, we remain positive. Consumer interest is still growing and we are achieving a good balance between new and existing customers.

Our lineups continue to gain attention and therefore gained market share globally due to our ability to introduce industry-shaping innovation. Our inventory is at an all-time low and we have a strong replenishment cycle planned in the upcoming quarters. And with our additional capacity next year, we will be in a good position to support this increased growth. Given all this, we feel we are well positioned to deliver our new guidance for the year and are optimistic for fiscal year '22.

I would like to end on a personal note. Without the incredible people we have in each of our offices and plants around the world, we would not have been able to continue to maintain the demanding schedule that the COVID situation combined with higher than ever consumer interest has required from us. So I wish to thank our employees for their resilience and their diligence through their careful and innovative management of our operation. A successful company is the result of many dedicated heads and hands and we are fortunate to have the best in the industry.

And on that note, I will turn the call over to the operator for questions.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

Thank you. [Operator Instructions] Our first question is from Robin Farley from UBS. Please go ahead.

Robin Farley -- UBS -- Analyst

Great. Thank you. I'm just going to ask a little bit about retail. Our checks have shown that after a very big month in July that August and September have had still very good growth rates, but a little bit slower than July. So I'm curious about the acceleration in October after that in August and September. You had said just October having a lower base of comparison or was it an increase in product availability? Just kind of trying to think about how October and then -- any insight you can give us into November.

And then, if I could even ask your thoughts about next year and whether the incredibly strong growth here -- obviously you'll have so much restocking that can drive your shipment growth. But is it reasonable to think that maybe the growth rate just -- there'll be some -- so there was some pull forward in that, maybe the next retail growth won't be till the year after next kind of think about that longer term? Thank you.

Jose Boisjoli -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning, Robin. That's a loaded question. Let's -- just to go in sequence, the third quarter, the retail was very strong every month; August, September, and October. September being the highest, I think. October is always a transition between summer product and winter, but overall, I mean, with 29% growth in an industry that was mid-single digits, we are very happy with our retail for Q3.

November is off to a very good start. And if I give you -- because I know this is an interest for all investors. If I give you some numbers for the first 20 days of October, our retail worldwide is up slightly below 30%. And that despite last year, we had a growth in November of 23% for the whole month. Then our growth worldwide is slightly below 30%. And that's despite EMEA, because of a lack of inventory is up only low-single digits. That mean North America is slightly above 35%, then very, very good retail in November.

Now, looking to next year. And when you think about it, obviously we don't know if there will be a reconfinement or what will happen in wave two. But when you think about it, Snowmobile season last year stopped in mid-March, the riding stopped mid-March. And the dealers gave us their I-O in mid-April in the middle of the confinement. Then they were somewhat conservative.

Watercraft, we run out of product by the end of July because we were shut down -- the factory were shut down for two months. Three-wheeled vehicle, the schools were shut down for three months and retail peaked after. But we hope next year it will be better. ORV, we run out of product. Our product was very low in inventory and we have a new factory for side-by-side that is planned in the fall of 2021.

And in Marine, our factory were closed for six weeks. And at Alumacraft, we had an additional month of closure because of the transfer from Arkadelphia to St. Peter. And I believe all of us learn. And when I say all of us, it's our dealers, our suppliers and us. We are better equipped to operate into this new context of COVID with all the norm for safety of our employees. And that's why we cannot plan for complete shutdown next year. But we feel that if things continue like this, we're well-positioned to end the quarter and for next year.

Robin Farley -- UBS -- Analyst

Okay. Great. Thank you very much.

Operator

Thank you. The following question is from Steve Arthur from RBC Capital Markets. Please go ahead.

Steve Arthur -- RBC Capital Markets -- Analyst

Yes. Great. Thank you and good morning. Just a couple of quick questions. Just -- first, the sense on the cost structure looking forward. You made some pretty heavy cuts in the spring as COVID was settling in. Just wondering how many of those costs you had to bring back in toward through Q3, I guess, or now and how much of that kind of is part of the impact you think on gross margins and outlooks [Phonetic]?

Jose Boisjoli -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Good morning, Steve. Obviously we did benefit in Q2 and in Q3 from the cost saving measures that we put in place earlier this year. With how the business is trending, we've decided to invest strategically in some of the initiatives. And so, I'm not expecting that trend of cost saving to continue in Q4. I'm expecting expenses to be up year-over-year.

And for next year, obviously we'll continue with that investment. As Jose alluded to, our expectations for next year are very good. And obviously this comes with well-positioned investments, so we'll continue seeing that trend increase. But one thing I want to remind is with the shutdown of Evinrude, that will bring overhead savings of about CAD70 million to CAD80 million on a permanent basis. So that's obviously going to benefit our results. It's benefiting our results this year but also for next year as well.

Steve Arthur -- RBC Capital Markets -- Analyst

Great. Understood. Out of all the cost measures, it was interesting to see that R&D wasn't cut. In fact, it looked like it was up about 10% year-over-year in Q3. I guess, looking ahead with that investment, is that likely to stay to your normal kind of around 4% level or might you invest more in this time to accelerate some market share opportunities?

Sebastien Martel -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. Well, as you know, innovation is key to our business. It's what's been driving our success in terms of market share gains in the last several years. So that's the last thing we want to cut. And we've been pretty open with investors over the last few years that if a recession were to happen, the last thing we want to do is to reduce drastically R&D investments. And so, we've been able to protect that and you see it in the investments we're making in the third quarter. And next year, our expectation is that we'll continue to run at historical levels in terms of percentage of revenue.

Steve Arthur -- RBC Capital Markets -- Analyst

Okay. Good color. Thank you.

Jose Boisjoli -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. Our following question is from Craig Kennison from Baird. Please go ahead.

Craig Kennison -- Robert W. Baird -- Analyst

Good morning. Thank you for taking my question. It relates to your inventory in the channel. I think it's possible that the channel has never been more profitable due to the scarcity issue. Just as you catch up to demand, can you preserve some of that scarcity to improve the profitability of dealers on a sustained basis? To me it feels like that's been an advantage for BRP and that your dealers are particularly profitable. But I'm wondering if you can sustain it in a better way this time around?

Jose Boisjoli -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning, Craig. Then first for seasonal product for Watercraft and the Snowmobile, and I would include three-wheeled on this because we don't produce on a 12-month basis yet. It will be difficult because we're producing almost eight months -- seven, eight months for product line and the retail season is quite short. And we're producing basically to orders that are given to us in advance. And I think we will probably go back to the pre-COVID situation in those product lines.

Now, in the Year-Round Product like ATV and side-by-side, this is another story. You're totally right. The low inventory is benefiting the dealer and us and everyone is happy about that. We plan to reduce going forward by 25%. But it will depend how the competition will also be aggressive because everyone is fighting for market share. Then I think, short to mid-term, we will see the inventory lower than the pre-COVID. Mid to long-term, we could go back to pre-COVID situation when everyone is fighting for market share.

Craig Kennison -- Robert W. Baird -- Analyst

Thank you. And with respect to your new capacity in Mexico, that production comes online in the fall of next year. When would those units actually show up in dealerships in a meaningful way?

Jose Boisjoli -- President and Chief Executive Officer

In the following week. When the production will be running, we will be delivering right away. So by the end of Q4 next year, you'll see the impact on our inventory, yeah.

Craig Kennison -- Robert W. Baird -- Analyst

Perfect. Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. Our following question is from Martin Landry from Stifel GMP. Please go ahead.

Martin Landry -- Stifel GMP -- Analyst

Hi. Good morning and congratulations on these impressive results. You seem to have gained market share at retail in a significant way in side-by-side during the quarter. I'm just trying to better understand what was the driver, was it scarcity of products from -- with your competitors or is it really like a strong demand of your own products?

Jose Boisjoli -- President and Chief Executive Officer

I think, Martin, we were already gaining share pre-COVID. We had a very, very good momentum with our lineups pre-COVID. And from what we see, we are able to deliver or to run our facility at capacity probably better than some of our competitors. Right now, we're delivering on plan. I have to admit managing the supply chain, those days is a bit bumpy. There is some difficulty. But our team is very good to manage and very agile to manage those situations. But I think, in Q3, it was our ability to ramp up production and run the facility at full capacity with minimal interruption.

Martin Landry -- Stifel GMP -- Analyst

Okay. And turning to Watercraft, your inventories are at historical low. Can you give us more color as what you're going to do from a production standpoint to catch up to demand? Are you starting production earlier? And by what quantum are you increasing production this year versus last year for Watercraft?

Jose Boisjoli -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Well, just to give you a sense, Martin, we shut down the factory in April/May this year in the peak of the production because we were filling up the pipeline for the retail season that is June till the end of September. Then we shut down the factory in the peak. After -- when we restarted the factory, we restarted the factory producing some model year '21 in advance to make sure that we would not create non-current, but those disappear very quickly.

And if you look at our level of inventory, it's less than one unit per dealer, then the dealer are empty, the network is empty. And we have a very solid booking for next year. And we restarted production after the shutdown, let's say, in July, and we're running at that time at full capacity. Then we believe that for Watercraft, we will be in good shape for next year production -- next year retail, sorry.

Martin Landry -- Stifel GMP -- Analyst

Okay. Okay. Is there any sense of how much more capacity you're adding versus last year?

Jose Boisjoli -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Well, just in terms of -- just to give you -- help you out here. In terms of the inventory situation, usually we finish a season with -- in good years probably 10% of next year retail, 15%, and so just that replenishment of inventory would call for a 10% to 15% increase in production just to meet that demand.

Martin Landry -- Stifel GMP -- Analyst

Okay. Okay. Plus the extra demand we're seeing right now?

Jose Boisjoli -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Plus the extra demand which we're seeing. But again, we have flexibility to adjust our production schedule. Today it's too early to call. But just on the inventory side, it's 10% to 15%.

Martin Landry -- Stifel GMP -- Analyst

Okay. Perfect. Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. Our following question is from Mark Petrie from CIBC. Please go ahead.

Mark Petrie -- CIBC -- Analyst

Hey. Good morning. Could you just provide a bit more color and maybe a bridge on the factors pushing gross margin higher in the quarter? I know you called out most of the benefit being from full price realization and less from promotional activity. But just could you quantify that and any other factors, I guess, including mix and specifically the removal of the upward business?

Jose Boisjoli -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Obviously, this quarter we saw a big benefit coming from the programs. And there's a timing effect on programs when these programs are provided for accounting rule. Some of these programs were provided for when we ship the units back in Q1 and Q2. And obviously with the low level of inventory and the strong demand, these programs were not needed. So these provisions were released. I prefer looking out on a full-year basis for the first nine months of the year, so we'll provide you with better comparability as to how the gross margin is performing.

So from a full nine months, volume and mix and pricing is favorable, 90 basis points. Sales programs for the full nine months is favorable about 200 basis points. Production with the absorption of added overhead cost because we had to shut down operations for two months is negative 130. The impact of the exit of outboard engine is negative 140 basis points on the gross margin. And then we have, what we call, COVID cost, restructuring. We had to pay employees as well, so for about 80 basis points as well. So, a good overall impact coming from programs as you see for 200 basis points. And as Jose indicated, we'd like for that to continue on next year. We believe that early part of next year, we'll be able to benefit from that lower reduction of promotional activity.

Mark Petrie -- CIBC -- Analyst

Okay. Okay. That's helpful. Thank you. My other question was just with regards to how the replenishment cycle in fiscal '22, how that's going to change the seasonality of your revenue and margins? And I guess you sort of alluded to it that that is going to be helpful in the first half of next year along with lower sort of promotional programs. But how should we think about that as we think about the typical kind of seasonality of revenue and margins for fiscal '22?

Sebastien Martel -- Chief Financial Officer

One -- something which I've already talked about in the Q2 results was the fact that we are pushing production more toward next year Personal Watercraft. There is going to be a greater percentage of the current model year units that are going to be shipped in Q1. Same thing for three-wheels. So that should bring higher profitability in the early part of next year compared to what we had in our historical numbers. Obviously, in the second half of the year, we're going to be opening up the new plant. So there is going to be a bit more higher costs. But we believe that with the added volume we'll be able to offset these costs quite rapidly.

Mark Petrie -- CIBC -- Analyst

Okay. Thanks. And Jose, you talked about the supply chain performing pretty well in recent months and maybe leading to some of your outperformance in a retail level. So, is that to say that you really haven't had any material issues with regards to the supply chain? I mean, I know you guys are cautious on that just in general, but have you had any issues to this point or in Q3?

Jose Boisjoli -- President and Chief Executive Officer

I mean, we had a situation where we had to airfreight parts or reschedule to accommodate a supplier we had difficulty. But this is our daily life. We do that all the time. And overall, the team have done a very good job to manage it. And that's what we foresee will continue, but it's manageable overall.

Mark Petrie -- CIBC -- Analyst

Right. And sorry, just one last one of clarification. I think you said new entrants were 34% of buyers in Q3. That's -- those are -- that's new to the industry or new to BRP?

Jose Boisjoli -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Just I will give you more colors because I know it's high interest for many investors and analysts. Then here I give you some colors. First, we don't have any number to compare to last year Q3 because we didn't do any survey last year, but we've done a survey this Q3 and here are the colors. We surveyed 2,400 participants in nine countries, people who purchased vehicle in July, August, September. And we surveyed them in the first 20 days of October, then quite new. And historically we have about 20% new entrants in our industry. And this time, with this survey, it was 34%.

Now, we're getting smarter and we dig with more question. Out of the 34%, 20% were new to Powersports, then totally new to the industry and 14% was new to category. That means someone who had a Watercraft and now decided to buy an ATV. That 34% new entrants, but 66% of experienced customers. What is even more positive for us, out of those 2,400 participants in the survey, 72% were new to BRP and 28% was BRP repurchase. Then we feel quite confident and that's a testimony of our ability to gain market share. We feel pretty encouraged with those numbers because we put a lot of emphasis on new entrants. And many are wondering is doing new entrants will continue post-COVID. First, we have an indication that they will remain but the growth we had was also a lot because of very loyal experienced customers and new to the brand.

Mark Petrie -- CIBC -- Analyst

Okay. That's great. Appreciate all the comments. All the best guys.

Jose Boisjoli -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Sebastien Martel -- Chief Financial Officer

Thanks.

Operator

Thank you. Our following question is from Jaime Katz from the Morningstar. Please go ahead.

Jaime Katz -- Morningstar -- Analyst

Hi. Good morning. Thanks for taking my questions. So I'm curious about Europe and what you guys are seeing from customer behavior there. Obviously, there was some constraint on the inventory level, which acted as a drag on throughput. But are you seeing the same sort of demand as you were seeing in North America given that the economic environment is a little bit different there? Thanks.

Sebastien Martel -- Chief Financial Officer

Well, if you recall our Q2 numbers, we had a very strong demand in Europe. It was softer in Q1 because they were more confined. Q2 confinement measures were lessened in Europe and we saw demand pick up, which obviously resulted in us being lean in yard inventory at the end of Q2. Demand continues to be strong. Snowmobile season is off to a good start in Scandinavia and the outlook for the rest of the business for Q4 is strong as well. So we're not seeing any material differences between Europe and North American consumers.

Jose Boisjoli -- President and Chief Executive Officer

The other thing I would add to Sebastian...

Jaime Katz -- Morningstar -- Analyst

And then -- go ahead, go ahead.

Jose Boisjoli -- President and Chief Executive Officer

The other thing I would add to Sebastien's comments, Snowmobile is an activity that is really off-road in very remote area. And we don't feel this will be -- it's perfect for distanciation and we don't feel any slowdown there.

Jaime Katz -- Morningstar -- Analyst

Excellent. And then, can you talk a little bit about how you are perceiving the new round of lockdowns in maybe Toronto and whether or not there are enough efforts to mitigate the impact such that it's not the same sort of magnitude as it was the last go around? Thanks.

Jose Boisjoli -- President and Chief Executive Officer

But even in the first lockdown, many dealers were able to operate in a different way. And that's why I was saying in my remark that we've learned a lot in the first lockdown and many dealers were able to retail despite all this, being creative and doing more virtual. And what's happening in Toronto, for example, right now, it's not affecting our business. Business like us -- our dealership are still running. They have measure obviously that they need to respect. But no dealership have been stopped lately, I don't think even in Europe.

Sebastien Martel -- Chief Financial Officer

We're seeing -- and as you can appreciate, in the spring, it was like almost an economic lockdown where plants were being closed and stores. Now we're seeing [Technical Issues] fourth quarter, so movie theaters, restaurants but not as comprehensive as we saw in the spring.

Jaime Katz -- Morningstar -- Analyst

Okay. Thank you so much.

Jose Boisjoli -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. Our following question is from Derek Dley from Canaccord Genuity. Please go ahead.

Derek Dley -- Canaccord Genuity -- Analyst

Yeah, hi. Thanks. I just want to say like given that you've got mentioned this already a couple loaded questions that were asked, I'll follow with one. Just given the demand increase that you've seen here, is there any changes to your five-year plan that you laid out about a year ago? I mean, could we get to that CAD7.50 in EPS a year early?

Sebastien Martel -- Chief Financial Officer

Let's say that it's too early, Derek, to restate the M25. When the situation will be a bit more stable, we will definitely restate it and present it to all of you. Listen, your question is the growth that we're having right now. In the M25, there was not that surge of new customers. There was not that cycle or that inventory that have been -- that is at a record low right now for all OEMs. Then we believe there is opportunity, but it's too early to tell you about the CAD7 EPS sooner than M25.

Derek Dley -- Canaccord Genuity -- Analyst

Okay. I appreciate that. And then, just in terms of what you're seeing in terms of promotional environment, like is there any discounting at all happening right now or is it really just a case of as product hits the floor it's kind of out the door?

Jose Boisjoli -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Well, there's no -- there's a -- I mean, there's a bit of promotion. Obviously we had some promotions for our spring units, which we announced back in the spring. So these are still in effect. And we always provide support to dealers for financing, etc. But obviously as the unit fly out the door, the amounts that we spend on either wholesale incentives or retail incentives is significantly lower than historical. So, there are sometimes a bit, but again as you saw the impact for the full year, it's [Phonetic] 200 basis points. So it's a material decrease versus prior years.

Derek Dley -- Canaccord Genuity -- Analyst

Yeah. Okay. Thank you very much.

Jose Boisjoli -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. Our following question is from Gerrick Johnson from BMO Capital Markets. Please go ahead.

Gerrick Johnson -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

Right. Good afternoon -- good morning. Thank you. Your operating expenses stand about 20%. You discussed some of the puts and takes there. But one big expense we haven't talked about was the annual club event, which did not occur from a physical standpoint. How much did that contribute to the quarter in terms of savings year-over-year?

Sebastien Martel -- Chief Financial Officer

Well, it's -- again, it's a material expense but it's not CAD20 million, it's not CAD10 million. So it's -- obviously it had an impact, but the club is less than CAD10 million. So you can do the math. And I expect expenses to remain low. Well, as I said, I expect Q4 to come back to where we were last year. And next year, obviously we will not -- club events will probably be not at the same level they were historically. But obviously we want to continue fueling the pipeline, we want to continue creating interest by dealers and consumers for our product. And so some of that money will be redirected to other marketing initiatives.

Gerrick Johnson -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

Okay. Well, I hope you keep the analysts and investor ride events intact. Moving on to other -- another question. These are two questions in one. More art than science here. There have been two very big macro events. One is the US election and the other is the announcement of three vaccines that look highly effective. So we've got a light at the end of the tunnel there.

Number one, on the election, I mean, I'll call a spade a spade here. Overwhelmingly Trump supporters here in the US on the dealer side, how are they looking? How are they -- what's their outlook? How has that changed perhaps if not at all? But if there is any change there? And number two, being that there are -- there is light at the end of the tunnel here, how is that impacting your outlook for next year and beyond?

Jose Boisjoli -- President and Chief Executive Officer

On the US election, Gerrick, I mean, we've been in this business for a long time and we've been able to work with both parties and we don't see for us any impact. I mean, there will be some adjustment but we are able to deal with any US administration. And we don't think there is much impact there.

Under vaccine, obviously very happy that it's happening. But before the vaccine will be distributed massively around the world, it will take some time. The other thing is, if you look at the leisure industry that is airline, hotel, gambling and you know more than I do. All those industry specialists like you are saying that it will take three years and more to recover. Then we believe that maybe the surge that we had this summer will be a bit reduced. But we have a pretty good runaway in front of us.

And again, that's why in my remarks this morning I mentioned the momentum we had pre-COVID. And for us, we see this as an opportunity not as a threat. It's our job to make those new entrants lifetime customers and to continue the momentum that we had. Then there will be -- maybe the growth might reduce a bit for -- because of the surge of new customers. But at the end, like I explained, the math of our customers are existing customers.

Gerrick Johnson -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

Yeah. Okay. And on those new customers you talked about, I think one thing a lot of people got wrong initially was just thinking that these new customers here are kind of like your traditional new customers that you usually get every year. But I think they're much different this time. Probably more professionals who are working from home and have some money and higher income kind of earners, but perhaps maybe less loyal to the lifestyle, the experience of the brands. So how do you think about those new customers and are you sort of modeling maybe less retention of those new customers or perhaps more?

Jose Boisjoli -- President and Chief Executive Officer

But just to give you a sense, we've been able to attract new customers through Spark. We introduced Spark in 2014 and Sea-Doo pre-COVID -- the Sea-Do Spark was -- over 50% of the sales was to new customers. And the Ryker last year pre-COVID was 40% and this year is 50%. Then we used to deal with new customers with those product line and we've learned how to make them lifetime customers. It won't be perfect. But again, instead to see this new customer surge as a threat, we see that as an opportunity and we believe we are well-tooled to continue the growth with them.

Gerrick Johnson -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

Okay. The Spark is a fantastic example. Thank you very much, Jose.

Jose Boisjoli -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. Our following question is from Cameron Doerksen from National Bank Financial. Please go ahead.

Cameron Doerksen -- National Bank Financial -- Analyst

Thanks. Good morning. Maybe just a couple of cash flow balance sheet questions from me. First, just on the working capital, you've had a pretty positive trend so far in fiscal 2021. I'm just wondering what it looks like for Q4. I mean, should we expect there to be a big draw on working capital? I'm just wondering what the -- how the year might end as far as that use of cash.

Sebastien Martel -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. We are expecting to rebuild the inventory in Q4 in the yard. So there's probably going to be use of cash related to the working cap. Obviously there's yard inventory we were able to rebuild at the end of -- we were able to rebuild at the end of Q3, the yard inventory in international, but it's still low compared to where it was a year ago. So there's more work to be done there. And even in North America, we could work with higher-end levels of inventories still. All in all, still have good cash flow generation for the full year. Capex is also going to be high in the fourth quarter. So we should consume cash in the fourth quarter.

Cameron Doerksen -- National Bank Financial -- Analyst

Okay. And just on the payables, I mean, it was up quite a bit in Q3 sequentially. Are we kind of back to a more normal level because I think it's been sort of artificially depressed the first couple of quarters of the year?

Sebastien Martel -- Chief Financial Officer

Yes, we are back to normal levels. We tend to trend that probably 90 days of working -- of AP. And that's where we are at the end of Q3.

Cameron Doerksen -- National Bank Financial -- Analyst

Okay, great. And just on the -- I guess, the cash position, I mean, you've got -- it remains very high, which is a good position to be in, I guess. But I'm just wondering if you can update us on your ability to, I guess, pay down debt early. I mean, I think there are some limitations on what you can do. Maybe just update us on what the latest is there as far as it's probably not the best scenario to be sitting on CAD1.3 billion in cash.

Sebastien Martel -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. Obviously, we -- -- it's not the best scenario but it's a very good position to be in, especially with the uncertainty that [Technical Issues] the vaccine is on its way, but it'll take some time before everyone is immune. So we prefer being in this situation than being short on cash. As you saw, we've decided to reinstate our NCIB and the dividend as well. So obviously there's going to be some cash that's going to be deployed toward those efforts.

In terms of debt reimbursement, short-term, it is not on the agenda. We -- as you all know, we raised an extra CAD600 million of debt back in May. There is a 2% penalty for early repayment that comes to expiration in May. So until May, our intention is not to look at debt -- potential debt reimbursements.

Cameron Doerksen -- National Bank Financial -- Analyst

Okay. That's helpful. Thanks very much.

Operator

Thank you. Our following question is from Benoit Poirier from Desjardins Capital Markets. Please go ahead.

Benoit Poirier -- Desjardins Capital Markets -- Analyst

Yeah. Good morning, Jose. Good morning, Sebastien. Congrats for the results. Just to come back on Gerrick question, could you talk about the new entrants, whether you are brand-agnostic and maybe the potential to sell them more products when you compare with your current customers?

Jose Boisjoli -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Good morning, Benoit. For sure. Right now, the focus of the marketing team is when a new entrant is coming in, we try to expose them to other product lines. And that's why we advanced the launch of the Uncharted Society where you can rent a Snowmobile or Watercraft or an off-road vehicles in other area just to expose them to the pressure of riding a different experience. Then this -- again, to follow on what I was saying to Gerrick a few minutes ago, for many investors, they are afraid that those new customers runaway and we see that as an opportunity. They came to our industry and now it's our job to attract and maintain them and expose them to other product lines. Then again, we see that as an opportunity. We like to be positive about going forward and working hard with the marketing team and the sales team to expose them to other product lines.

Benoit Poirier -- Desjardins Capital Markets -- Analyst

Okay. And Sebastien, when you talked about the a better mix impact on margins, what -- was it driving -- was it driven by a lack of low-entry products or driven by customer preference toward higher end products?

Sebastien Martel -- Chief Financial Officer

Well, obviously, given the scarcity of the inventory and the high demand for products, we selectively produced units that we believe will bring the maximum profit to us and to the dealers. So, our mix is more richer because we've made that decision to produce higher mix or richer mix of products, driven by obviously the demand from the consumers.

Benoit Poirier -- Desjardins Capital Markets -- Analyst

Okay. And given the greater visibility through the pandemic, so how does it impact BRP? Could you accelerate some product introduction when we think about project and project goals or maybe electric vehicles is something that could maybe accelerate furthermore?

Sebastien Martel -- Chief Financial Officer

We -- as I've shared with you, we did put a pause on certain projects when the COVID happened. Obviously as we had greater visibility on the year and on next year, we turned the switch back on for these programs. And we'll continue introducing the products and the innovations that we do on a yearly basis. But for now, no significant change in plans.

Benoit Poirier -- Desjardins Capital Markets -- Analyst

Okay. And last...

Jose Boisjoli -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Okay. We believe that's why we have plenty coming to remain very competitive.

Benoit Poirier -- Desjardins Capital Markets -- Analyst

Okay. Perfect. And last one for me. When we look at capital deployment, 2 times seems to be the optimal level in terms of leverage. How should we be thinking right now given the bigger growth opportunities in the pandemic? Do you feel comfortable maybe to increase or maybe lower given the visibility we currently have, so what about the optimal level?

Sebastien Martel -- Chief Financial Officer

In terms of -- are you talking about capex?

Benoit Poirier -- Desjardins Capital Markets -- Analyst

In terms of net debt/EBITDA, in terms of the leverage ratio, Sebastien.

Sebastien Martel -- Chief Financial Officer

Okay. Well, we -- when we IPO-ed, we were at 3 times leverage. We finished the quarter again below 2 times -- significantly below 2 times. And we're comfortable as we've said in the past operating at 2 times leverage. So, there will be part of discussions we're having with the Board. But as I said today, we prefer sitting on a bit more cash and see how things are going to turn out. We are lucky we're in a good position. Having that cash flexibility is a huge plus in these uncertain times.

Benoit Poirier -- Desjardins Capital Markets -- Analyst

Okay. Thank you very much for the time.

Sebastien Martel -- Chief Financial Officer

Thank you.

Jose Boisjoli -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question is from Greg Badishkanian from Wolfe Research. Please go ahead.

Fred Wightman -- Wolfe Research -- Analyst

Hey, guys. It's actually Fred Wightman on for Greg. Just quickly on Snowmobiles, retail was up low-20%s in the quarter. I think, on last quarter's call, you had talked about the early retail signs were up 70% plus. So, can you just talk about what changed and how that fits in to your decision to extend the Snowmobile production period?

Jose Boisjoli -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning. What happened -- again, you need to be careful at the beginning of season because numbers sometime are small and increase numbers or ratio can be very high. But right now, we are extremely happy with the Snowmobile momentum. And you just need to remind that this year -- at this time of the year, we had shipped more unit last year than this year. And we're hearing dealers right now when they receive a unit, the PDI and deliver it to the customer, then it's in and out. Then we expect the momentum will continue at a good pace till Christmas. And we're hearing that some dealers will be out of product by Christmas. Then we feel very comfortable with the Snowmobile business.

Fred Wightman -- Wolfe Research -- Analyst

Perfect. Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. We have no further questions registered at this time. I would now like to turn the meeting back over to Mr. Deschenes.

Philippe Deschenes -- Manager, Treasury and Investor Relations

Great. Thanks, Mal. And thanks, everyone, for joining us this morning and for your interest in BRP. We want to take the opportunity to wish you all a happy and safe holiday season. And we look forward to speaking with you again for our fourth quarter earnings call in March. Thanks again everyone and have a good day.

Operator

[Operator Closing Remarks]

Duration: 64 minutes

Call participants:

Philippe Deschenes -- Manager, Treasury and Investor Relations

Jose Boisjoli -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Sebastien Martel -- Chief Financial Officer

Robin Farley -- UBS -- Analyst

Steve Arthur -- RBC Capital Markets -- Analyst

Craig Kennison -- Robert W. Baird -- Analyst

Martin Landry -- Stifel GMP -- Analyst

Mark Petrie -- CIBC -- Analyst

Jaime Katz -- Morningstar -- Analyst

Derek Dley -- Canaccord Genuity -- Analyst

Gerrick Johnson -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

Cameron Doerksen -- National Bank Financial -- Analyst

Benoit Poirier -- Desjardins Capital Markets -- Analyst

Fred Wightman -- Wolfe Research -- Analyst

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