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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
 
FORM 10-K
 
 
(Mark One)
[x]
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2017
OR
[ ]
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
FOR THE TRANSITION PERIOD FROM                      TO                     
Commission file number: 001-31321
 
 
 
NAUTILUS, INC.
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)
 
 
 
 
Washington
 
94-3002667
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
 
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
17750 S.E. 6th Way
Vancouver, Washington 98683
(Address of principal executive offices, including zip code)
(360) 859-2900
(Registrant's telephone number, including area code)
 
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class
 
Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Stock, no par value
 
New York Stock Exchange

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None.
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes  [ ]  No  [x]
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.    Yes  [ ]    No  [x]
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes  [x]    No  [ ]
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).    Yes  [x]    No  [ ]
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant's knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.    [ ]
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and "emerging growth company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer  [ ]            Accelerated filer  [x]        Non-accelerated filer  [ ]            Smaller reporting company  [ ]
(do not check if a smaller reporting company)    Emerging growth company [ ]
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).    Yes  [ ]    No  [x]
The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates computed by reference to the last sales price ($18.90) as reported on the New York Stock Exchange as of the last business day of the registrant's most recently completed second fiscal quarter (June 30, 2017) was $567,409,298.
The number of shares outstanding of the registrant's common stock as of February 28, 2018 was 30,327,978 shares.
Documents Incorporated by Reference
The registrant has incorporated by reference into Part III of this Form 10-K portions of its Proxy Statement for its 2018 Annual Meeting of Shareholders.
 



NAUTILUS, INC.
2017 FORM 10-K ANNUAL REPORT
 
 
 
Item 1.
 
Item 1A.
 
Item 1B.
 
Item 2.
 
Item 3.
 
Item 4.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Item 5.
 
Item 6.
 
Item 7.
 
Item 7A.
 
Item 8.
 
Item 9.
 
Item 9A.
 
Item 9B.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Item 10.
 
Item 11.
 
Item 12.
 
Item 13.
 
Item 14.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Item 15.
 
Item 16.
 
 
 
 
 




Table of Contents

PART I

Forward-Looking Statements

This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as "plan," "expect," "aim," "believe," "project," "intend," "estimate," "will," "should," "could," and other terms of similar meaning typically identify forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements in this report include, without limitation: our prospects, resources or capabilities; current or future financial trends; anticipated future operating results; future plans for introduction of new products; anticipated demand for our new and existing products; maintenance of appropriate inventory levels; growth in revenues and profits; leverage of operating expenses; future revenues from licenses of our intellectual property; results of increased media investment in the Direct segment; continued improvement in operating margins; expectations for increased research and development expenses; anticipated capital expenditures; fluctuations in net sales due to seasonality; and our ability to continue to fund our operating and capital needs for the following twelve-month period. Forward-looking statements also include any statements related to our expectations regarding future business and financial performance or conditions, anticipated sales growth across markets, distribution channels and product categories, expenses and gross margins, profits or losses, losses from discontinued operations, settlements of warranty obligations, the anticipated outcome of litigation to which we are a party, new product introductions, financing and working capital requirements and resources. These forward-looking statements, and others we make from time-to-time, are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties. Many factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in forward-looking statements, including the risks described in Part I, Item 1A of this report and in other reports we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We do not undertake any duty to update forward-looking statements after the date they are made or conform them to actual results or to changes in circumstances or expectations.

Item 1. Business

OVERVIEW

Founded in 1986, Nautilus, Inc. and subsidiaries (collectively, "Nautilus" or the "Company") is a consumer fitness products company headquartered in Vancouver, Washington and incorporated in the State of Washington in January 1993. We are committed to providing innovative, quality solutions to help people achieve their fitness goals through a fit and healthy lifestyle. Our principal business activities include designing, developing, sourcing and marketing high-quality cardio and strength fitness products and related accessories for consumer and commercial use, primarily in the U.S. and Canada, but also in international markets outside North America. Our products are sold under some of the most-recognized brand names in the fitness industry: Nautilus®, Bowflex®, Octane Fitness®, Schwinn® and Universal®.

We market our products through two distinct distribution channels, Direct and Retail, which we consider to be separate business segments. Our Direct business offers products directly to consumers through television advertising, the Internet and catalogs. Our Retail business offers our products through a network of independent companies to reach consumers in both the home use, as well as commercial use, markets in the U.S. and internationally. We also derive a portion of our revenue from the licensing of our brands and intellectual property.

BUSINESS STRATEGY

We are focused on developing and marketing consumer fitness equipment and related products to help people enjoy healthier lives. Our products are targeted to meet the needs of a broad range of consumers, including fitness enthusiasts and individuals who are seeking the benefits of regular exercise. We have diversified our business by expanding our portfolio of high quality fitness equipment into multiple product lines utilizing our well-recognized brand names. We are focused on consumer markets and specialty and commercial distribution channels, and view the continual innovation of our product offerings as a key aspect of our business strategy. We regularly refresh our existing product lines with new technologies and finishes, and focus significant effort and resources on the development or acquisition of innovative new fitness products for introduction to the marketplace at periodic intervals.
 
Our strategies incorporate the individual characteristics of our Direct and Retail businesses. Our Direct business focuses on: (i) the development of, or acquisition of rights to, unique, branded products; (ii) the application of creative, cost-effective ways to communicate the benefits of their use; and (iii) making various payment options available to our customers. We are particularly attentive to Direct business metrics that provide feedback regarding the effectiveness of our media marketing programs and attractiveness of third-party consumer financing programs.


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In our Retail business, we strive to develop long-term relationships with key retailers of sports or fitness equipment. The primary objectives of our Retail business are (i) to offer a selection of innovative, unique products at key price-points to capture market share; and (ii) to utilize the strength of our brands and long-standing customer relationships to secure more floor space with our Retail customers for our products, as well as support efforts to gain share in multi-user environments.

Our long-term strategy involves:
Creatively marketing our equipment, both directly to consumers and through our Retail customers, while leveraging our well-known brand names;
Enhancing our product lines by designing fitness equipment that meets or exceeds the high expectations of our customers;
Utilizing our strengths in product engineering to reduce product costs;
Continuing our investment in research and development activities aimed at acquiring or creating new technologies;
Increasing our international Retail sales and distribution; and
Maximizing available royalty revenues from the licensing of our brands and intellectual property.

PRODUCTS

We market quality cardiovascular and strength fitness products that cover a broad range of price points and features. Our products are designed for home use and multi-user environments by individuals with varying exercise needs. From the person who works out occasionally to the serious athlete, we have products that will help them achieve their fitness objectives.

Nautilus® is our corporate umbrella brand and is also used to differentiate certain specialized cardio, treadmills, ellipticals and bike products.
Our Bowflex® brand represents a highly-regarded line of fitness equipment comprised of both cardio and strength products, including the Max Trainer®, TreadClimber® , and HVT® specialized cardio machines, PowerRod® and Revolution® home gyms and SelectTech® dumbbells.
Our Octane Fitness® brand is known for its innovation around low-impact cardio products, including the perfection of the traditional elliptical machine, along with the creation of new categories of exercise, including the xRide® recumbent elliptical, the LateralX® elliptical, and the Zero Runner®.
Our Schwinn® brand is known for its popular line of exercise bikes, including the Airdyne®, as well as Schwinn-branded treadmills and ellipticals.
Our Universal® brand, one of the oldest and most recognized names in the fitness industry, currently offers a line of kettlebell weights and weight benches.
  
We generally differentiate the product models offered in our Direct and Retail sales channels. Currently, our Max Trainer®, TreadClimber®, and HVT® product lines are offered for sale primarily through our Direct sales channel.

Approximately 84% of our revenue in 2017 was derived from sales of consumer cardio products. While we continue to be a leader in the consumer strength product category, we believe the much larger market for cardio products offers us greater opportunity for growth.
 
BUSINESS SEGMENTS AND GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION

We conduct our business in two segments, Direct and Retail. For further information regarding our segments and geographic information, see Note 20, Segment and Enterprise-Wide Information, to our consolidated financial statements in Part II, Item 8 of this report.

SALES AND MARKETING

Direct
In our Direct business, we market and sell our products, principally Bowflex® cardio and strength products, directly to consumers. While we are, and plan to continue to be, a large direct marketer of strength products in the U.S., our advertising emphasis has shifted toward cardio products, especially the Max Trainer® and HVT®, as cardio products represent the largest component of the fitness equipment market and a majority of our business. Sales of cardio products represented 90% of our Direct channel revenues in 2017, compared to 93% in each of the two years 2016 and 2015, respectively.

Our marketing efforts are based on an integrated combination of media and direct consumer contact. In addition to television advertising, which ranges in length from 30 seconds to as long as three minutes, we utilize Internet advertising, product websites, inquiry-response mailings, catalogs and inbound/outbound call centers. Marketing and media effectiveness is measured continuously based on sales inquiries generated, cost-per-lead, conversion rates, return on investment and other performance

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metrics and we strive to optimize the efficiency of our marketing and media expenditures based on this data. Almost all of our Direct customer orders are received either on our Internet websites or through company-owned and third-party call centers.

In order to facilitate consumer sales, we partner with several third-party credit providers. Credit approval rates are an important variable in the number of Direct products we sell in a given period. Combined consumer credit approvals by our primary and secondary U.S. third-party financing providers increased to 54% in 2017 from 51% in 2016 and 48% in 2015. The year-over-year boost in approval rates for 2017 compared to 2016, and 2016 compared to 2015, was due to expansion of credit approval standards, primarily by our Tier 1 third-party credit provider. We believe our marketing and media strategy, which has attracted customers with higher credit scores, has also contributed to the increase in approval rates.
 
Retail
In our Retail business, we market and sell a comprehensive line of consumer fitness equipment under the Nautilus®, Octane Fitness®, Schwinn®, Universal® and Bowflex® brands. Our products are marketed through a network of retail companies, consisting of sporting goods stores, Internet retailers, large-format and warehouse stores, smaller specialty retailers, independent bike dealers, and to specialty commercial customers purchasing our products for multi-user environments.

We offer programs that provide price discounts to our Retail customers for ordering container-sized shipments or placing orders early enough in the season to allow for more efficient manufacturing by our Asian suppliers. These programs are designed to reduce our shipping and handling costs, with much of the savings being passed on to our customers. In addition, we often offer other types of sales incentives to our Retail customers, including volume discounts and various forms of rebates or allowances, which generally are intended to increase product exposure and availability for consumers, reduce transportation costs, and encourage marketing and promotion of our brands or specific products.

PRODUCT DESIGN AND INNOVATION

Innovation is a vital part of our business, and we continue to expand and diversify our product offerings by leveraging our research and development capabilities. We constantly search for new technologies and innovations that will help us grow our business, either through higher sales or increased production efficiencies. To accomplish this objective, we seek out ideas and concepts both within our company and from outside inventors.

We rely on financial and engineering models to assist us in assessing the potential operational and economic impacts of adopting new technologies and innovations. If we determine that a third-party technology or innovation concept meets certain technical and financial criteria, we may enter into a licensing arrangement to utilize the technology or, in certain circumstances, purchase the technology for our own use. Our product design and engineering teams also invest considerable effort to improve product design and quality. As a consumer-driven company, we invest from time-to-time in qualitative and quantitative consumer research to help us assess new product concepts, optimal features and anticipated consumer adoption.

Our research and development expenses were $15.4 million, $13.9 million and $9.9 million in 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively, as we increased our investment in new product development resources and capabilities. We expect our research and development expenses to increase in 2018 as we continue to supplement our investment in new product development, technology initiatives, and engineering capabilities.

SEASONALITY

We expect our revenue from fitness equipment products to vary seasonally. Sales are typically strongest in the first and fourth quarters, followed by the third quarter, and are generally weakest in the second quarter. We believe that consumers tend to be involved in outdoor activities during the spring and summer months, including outdoor exercise, which impacts sales of indoor fitness equipment. This seasonality can have a significant effect on our inventory levels, working capital needs and resource utilization.

MERCHANDISE SOURCING

All of our products are produced by third-party manufacturers, and, in 2017, our manufacturing partners were primarily located in Asia. Although multiple factories bid on and are able to produce most of our products, we typically select one factory to be the primary supplier of any given product. Lead times for inventory purchases from our Asian suppliers, from order placement to receipt of goods, generally range from approximately two to three months, of which transit time represents three-to-four weeks. The length of our lead times requires us to place advance manufacturing orders based on management forecasts of future demand for our products. We attempt to compensate for our long replenishment lead times by maintaining adequate levels of inventory at our warehousing facilities.

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We monitor our suppliers' ability to meet our product needs and we participate in quality assurance activities to reinforce adherence to our quality standards. Our third-party manufacturing contracts are generally of annual or shorter duration, or manufactured products are sourced on the basis of individual purchase orders. Our manufacturing relationships are non-exclusive, and we are permitted to procure our products from other sources at our discretion. None of our manufacturing contracts include production volume or purchase commitments on the part of either party. Our third-party manufacturers are responsible for the sourcing of raw materials and producing parts and finished products to our specifications.

LOGISTICS

Our warehousing and distribution facilities are located in Oregon and Ohio. In addition to Company-operated distribution centers, we utilize third-party warehouses and logistics providers to fulfill orders.

In our Direct business we strive to maintain inventory levels that will allow us to ship our products shortly after receiving a customer's order. We use common carriers for substantially all of our merchandise shipments to Direct customers.

In our Retail business we manage our inventory levels to accommodate anticipated seasonal changes in demand. Generally, we maintain higher inventory levels at the end of the third and fourth quarters to satisfy relatively higher consumer demand in the fourth and first quarters of each year. Many of our Retail customers place orders well in advance of peak periods of consumer demand to ensure an adequate supply for the anticipated selling season.

In 2017, approximately 58% of our Retail customers' orders were shipped by our contract manufacturers in Asia directly to our Retail customers locations, typically in container loads. The use of such direct shipments allows us to maintain lower levels of inventory in our warehouses, resulting in lower storage, handling, freight, insurance and other costs, with much of the savings being passed on to our customers. We use various commercial truck lines for our merchandise shipments to Retail customers.

COMPETITION

The markets for all of our products are highly competitive. We believe the principal competitive factors affecting our business are quality, brand recognition, innovation and pricing. We believe we are well positioned to compete in markets in which we can take advantage of our strong brand names, and that our focus on innovative product design, quality, and performance distinguishes our products from the competition.

Our products compete directly with those offered by a large number of companies that market consumer fitness equipment and fitness programs. As the use of Internet websites for product sales by traditional retailers has increased, our competitors have become increasingly similar across our Direct and Retail sales channels.

Our principal competitors include: ICON Health & Fitness, Johnson Health Tech, Peloton, Beach Body, American Telecast, Life Fitness, and Precor. We also compete with marketers of mobile device applications focused on fitness training and coaching on both iOS® and Android™ platforms, such as Workout: Gym exercise planner and NIKE® Training Club. Additional marketers of competitive products include the following: activity trackers and content-driven physical activity products, such as Garmin vivofit® and Fitbit®; computer-based recreation products, such as the Microsoft Xbox®; weight management companies, such as Weight Watchers; group fitness, such as cross-fit classes; and gym memberships, each of which offers alternative solutions for a fit and healthy lifestyle.

EMPLOYEES

As of February 28, 2018, we had approximately 491 employees, substantially all of whom were full-time. None of our employees are subject to collective bargaining agreements. We have not experienced a material interruption of our operations due to labor disputes.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

Trademarks, patents and other forms of intellectual property are vital to the success of our business and are an essential factor in maintaining our competitive position in the health and fitness industry.


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Trademarks
We own many trademarks, including Nautilus®, Bowflex®, Max Trainer®, TreadClimber®, HVT®, Power Rod®, Bowflex Revolution®, SelectTech®, Octane Fitness®, LateralX®, xRide®, Zero Runner®, Airdyne®, and Universal®. Nautilus is the exclusive licensee under the Schwinn® mark for indoor fitness products. We believe that having distinctive trademarks that are readily identifiable by consumers is an important factor in creating a market for our products, maintaining a strong company identity and developing brand loyalty among our customers. In addition, we have granted licenses to a third party to use the Nautilus, Schwinn and TreadClimber trademarks on commercial fitness products, for which we receive royalty income and expanded consumer awareness of our brands.

Each federally registered trademark is renewable indefinitely if the trademark is still in use at the time of renewal.

Patents and Designs
Building our intellectual property portfolio is an important factor in maintaining our competitive position in the health and fitness equipment industry. We have followed a policy of filing applications for U.S. and non-U.S. patents on utility and design inventions that we deem valuable to our business.

We own or license patents and design registrations covering a variety of technologies, some of which are utilized in our selectorized dumbbells, treadmills, exercise bikes, and elliptical machines. Patent and design protection for these technologies, which are utilized in products sold in both the Direct and Retail segments, extends as far as 2034.

We maintain a portfolio of patents related to our TreadClimber® specialized cardio machines, which are sold primarily in our Direct segment. The portfolio includes approximately 23 issued U.S. patents. U.S. patents covering elements of our TreadClimber® products have expiration dates ranging from 2021 to 2027. Expiration or invalidity of patents within our TreadClimber® portfolio could trigger the introduction of similar products by our competitors. Although we view each of the patents within our portfolio as valuable, we do not view any single patent as critical to our success or ability to differentiate our TreadClimber® products from similar products that may be introduced by competitors in the future. We regularly monitor commercial activity in our industry to guard against potential infringement. We protect our proprietary rights and take prompt, reasonable actions to prevent counterfeit products and other infringement on our intellectual property.

We maintain a portfolio of patents and patent applications related to our MaxTrainer® specialized cardio machines, which are sold primarily in our Direct segment. The portfolio includes issued patents with expiration dates ranging from 2024 to 2034, and additional pending patent applications.

Nautilus is also the licensee of patents related to the Bowflex Revolution® home gyms. These patents have expiration dates ranging from 2018 to 2025. Through its Octane Fitness subsidiary, Nautilus owns and licenses certain patents related to Octane's LateralX®, xRide® and Zero Runner® products. These patents have expiration dates ranging from 2018 to 2034.

BACKLOG

We define our customer order backlog to include firm orders for future shipment to our Retail customers, as well as unfulfilled consumer orders within the Direct segment.

Backlog as of a given date fluctuates based on specific timing of product shipment within the typical shipment timeframes for each of our segments. Retail orders comprise the larger portion of our order backlog, while Direct orders comprise a smaller portion of our backlog due to shorter fulfillment timeframes.

Our customer order backlog as of December 31, 2017 and 2016 was approximately $6.0 million and $4.9 million, respectively.

SIGNIFICANT CUSTOMERS

In 2017, 2016 and 2015, Amazon.com accounted for 11.9%, 11.3% and 11.1%, respectively, of our net sales.

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ENVIRONMENTAL AND OTHER REGULATORY MATTERS

Our operations are subject to various laws and regulations both domestically and abroad. In the U.S., federal, state and local regulations impose standards on our workplace and our relationship with the environment. For example, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Occupational Safety and Health Administration and other federal agencies have the authority to promulgate regulations that may impact our operations. In particular, we are subject to legislation placing restrictions on our generation, emission, treatment, storage and disposal of materials, substances and wastes. Such legislation includes: the Toxic Substances Control Act; the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act; the Clean Air Act; the Clean Water Act; the Safe Drinking Water Act; and the Comprehensive Environmental Response and the Compensation and Liability Act (also known as Superfund). We are also subject to the requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Federal Trade Commission, in addition to regulations concerning employee health and safety matters.

Our operations and certain disposed components of our former Commercial business expose us to claims related to environmental matters. Although compliance with federal, state, local and international environmental legislation has not had a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations or cash flows in the past, there can be no assurance that material costs or liabilities will not be incurred in connection with such environmental matters in the future.

AVAILABLE INFORMATION

Our common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and trades under the symbol “NLS.” Our principal executive offices are located at 17750 SE 6th Way, Vancouver, Washington 98683, and our telephone number is (360) 859-2900. The Internet address of our corporate website is http://www.nautilusinc.com. We maintain an investor relations page on our corporate website accessible at http://www.nautilusinc.com/investors.

We file annual reports, quarterly reports, current reports, proxy statements and other information with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. You can inspect and obtain a copy of our reports, proxy statements and other information filed with the SEC at the offices of the SEC's Public Reference Room at 100 F Street N.E., Washington, D.C. 20549, on official business days during the hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. EST. Please call the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330 for further information on the Public Reference Room. The SEC maintains an Internet website at http://www.sec.gov where you can access copies of most of our SEC filings.

We make our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to those reports, and other information as filed with the SEC, available free of charge on the investor relations page of our corporate website. In addition to our SEC filings, we also webcast our earnings calls and certain events we participate in with members of the investment community on our investor relations page. Further, we use our investor relations page to make presentations and other materials regarding our business and financial performance available, along with our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, corporate governance policies, and the charters of our Audit Committee, Compensation Committee and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. The contents of our websites are not incorporated by reference into this Annual Report on Form 10-K or in any other report or document we file with the SEC, and any references to our websites are intended to be inactive textual references only.
 
Item 1A. Risk Factors

Nautilus operates in an environment that involves a number of risks and uncertainties. The risks and uncertainties described in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are not the only risks and uncertainties that we face. Additional risks and uncertainties that presently are not considered material or are not known to us, and therefore are not mentioned herein, may impair our business operations. If any of the risks described in this Annual Report on Form 10-K actually occur, our business, operating results and financial position could be adversely affected.

Our revenues and profitability can fluctuate from period to period and are often difficult to predict due to factors beyond our control.
 
Our results of operations in any particular period may not be indicative of results to be expected in future periods, and have historically been, and are expected to continue to be, subject to periodic fluctuations arising from a number of factors, including:
Introduction and market acceptance of new products and sales trends affecting specific existing products;
Variations in product selling prices and costs and the mix of products sold;
Size and timing of Retail customer orders, which, in turn, often depend upon the success of our customers' businesses or specific products;
Changes in the market conditions for consumer fitness equipment;

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Changes in macroeconomic factors;
Availability of consumer credit;
Timing and availability of products coming from our offshore contract manufacturing suppliers;
Seasonality of markets, which vary from quarter-to-quarter and are influenced by outside factors such as overall consumer confidence and the availability and cost of television advertising time;
Effectiveness of our media and advertising programs;
Customer consolidation in our Retail segment, or the bankruptcy of any of our larger Retail customers;
Restructuring charges;
Goodwill and other intangible asset impairment charges; and
Legal and contract settlement charges.
 
These trends and factors could adversely affect our business, operating results, financial position and cash flows in any particular period. 

The loss of one or more of our large Retail customers could negatively impact our revenue and operating results.

We derive a significant portion of our revenue from a small number of Retail customers. A Retail customer or any of our retail partners may in the future experience difficulties in their businesses that could prompt store closures or reorganizations. A loss of business from one or more of these large customers, if not replaced with new business, could negatively affect our operating results and cash flows.

A decline in sales of Max Trainer® products without a corresponding increase in sales of other products would negatively affect our future revenues and operating results.

Sales of cardio products, especially Max Trainer® products, represent a substantial portion of our Direct segment revenues. Our products are sold in highly competitive markets with limited barriers to entry. Introduction by competitors of comparable products at lower price-points, a maturing product lifecycle or other factors could result in a decline in our revenues derived from this product line. A significant decline in our revenue from this product line would have a material adverse effect on our operating results, financial position and cash flows.

Portions of our operating expenses and costs of goods sold are relatively fixed, and we may have limited ability to reduce expenses sufficiently in response to any revenue shortfalls.

Many of our operating expenses are relatively fixed. We may not be able to adjust our operating expenses or other costs sufficiently to adequately respond to any revenue shortfalls. If we are unable to reduce operating expenses or other costs quickly in response to any declines in revenue, it would negatively impact our operating results, financial condition and cash flows.

If we are unable to anticipate consumer preferences or to effectively develop, market and sell future products, our future revenues and operating results could be adversely affected.
 
Our future success depends on our ability to effectively develop, market and sell new products that respond to new and evolving consumer preferences. Accordingly, our revenues and operating results may be adversely affected if we are unable to develop or acquire rights to new products that satisfy consumer preferences. In addition, any new products that we market may not generate sufficient revenues to recoup their acquisition, development, production, marketing, selling and other costs.

Currency exchange rate fluctuations could result in higher costs, reduced margins or decreased international sales.
 
Substantially all of our products are manufactured outside of the U.S. and, therefore, currency exchange rate fluctuations could result in higher costs for our products, or could disrupt the business of independent manufacturers that produce our products, by making their purchases of raw materials more expensive and more difficult to finance. Our future financial results could be significantly affected by the value of the U.S. dollar in relation to the foreign currencies in which we, our customers or our suppliers conduct business. Past fluctuations in currency exchange rates versus the U.S. dollar have caused our costs for certain products to increase, reducing our margins and cash flows. Similar fluctuations and cost increases may occur in the future. If we are unable to increase our selling prices to offset such cost increases, or if such increases have a negative impact on sales of our products, our revenues and margins would be reduced and our operating results and cash flows would be negatively impacted. In addition, a portion of our revenue is derived from sales outside the U.S., primarily in Canada and Europe. Currency rate fluctuations could make our products more expensive for foreign consumers and reduce our revenue, which would negatively affect our operating results and cash flows.


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Future impairments of intangible assets could negatively impact our operating results.

As of December 31, 2017, we had goodwill of $62.0 million and other intangible assets of $57.7 million, net of an $8.8 million impairment charge related to the Octane Fitness brand name. Any future impairment charges, if significant, could materially and adversely affect our operating results. An unexpected decline in revenue, changes in market conditions, changes in competitive products or technologies or a change in management's intentions regarding utilization of intangible assets could lead to future impairment charges.

We are subject to warranty claims for our products, which could result in unexpected expense.
 
Many of our products carry warranties for defects in quality and workmanship. We may experience significant expense as the result of product quality issues, product recalls or product liability claims which may have a material adverse effect on our business. We maintain a warranty reserve for estimated future warranty claims. However, the actual costs of servicing future warranty claims may exceed the reserve and have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.

Decline in consumer spending would likely negatively affect our product revenues and earnings.
 
Success of each of our products depends substantially on the amount of discretionary funds available to our customers. Global credit and financial markets have experienced extreme disruptions in the recent past, including severely diminished liquidity and credit availability, declines in consumer confidence, declines in economic growth, increases in unemployment rates and uncertainty about economic stability. There can be no assurance that similar disruptions will not occur in the future. Deterioration in general economic conditions may depress consumer spending, especially spending for discretionary consumer products such as ours. Poor economic conditions could in turn lead to substantial decreases in our net sales or have a material adverse effect on our operating results, financial position and cash flows.

Our business is affected by seasonality which results in fluctuations in our operating results.
 
We experience fluctuations in aggregate sales volume during the year. Sales are typically strongest in the first and fourth quarters, followed by the third quarter, and are generally weakest in the second quarter. However, the mix of product sales may vary considerably from time to time as a result of changes in seasonal and geographic demand for particular types of fitness equipment. In addition, our customers may cancel orders, change delivery schedules or change the mix of products ordered with minimal notice. As a result, we may not be able to accurately predict our quarterly sales. Accordingly, our results of operations are likely to fluctuate significantly from period to period.
 
Government regulatory actions could disrupt our marketing efforts and product sales.
 
Various international and U.S. federal, state and local governmental authorities, including the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, regulate our product and marketing efforts. Our revenue and profitability could be significantly harmed if any of these authorities commence a regulatory enforcement action that interrupts our marketing efforts, results in a product recall or negative publicity, or requires changes in product design or marketing materials.

Substantially higher advertising rates or a significant decline in availability of media time may hinder our ability to effectively market our products and may reduce profitability.
 
We depend on television and other media advertising to market certain products sold directly to consumers. Consequently, a marked increase in the price we must pay for our preferred media time, or a reduction in its availability, may adversely impact our financial performance.
 
We may be unable to adapt to significant changes in media consumption habits and media coverage of current events may compete for consumer attention, which could diminish the effectiveness or efficiency of our advertising.

New television technologies and services, such as video-on-demand, digital video recorders and Internet streaming services are changing traditional patterns of television viewing. Additionally, consumer attention is increasingly fragmented across a variety of games, apps, the Internet and other digital media, the balance of which may shift at any time in response to media coverage of current events and the advancement of new technologies. We believe that consumer attention to media coverage of major events, such as the Olympics and the U.S. presidential election, have, in the past, impacted the effectiveness of our media advertising. Future events that draw significant media coverage may similarly impact our ability to engage consumers with our media advertising. If we are unable to successfully adapt our media strategies to new television viewing and media consumption habits,

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or if consumer attention is focused on other events, the effectiveness and efficiency of our media placements could be adversely affected, and our operating results may be negatively impacted.

Our revenues could decline due to changes in credit markets and decisions made by credit providers.
 
Historically, a significant portion of our Direct sales have been financed for our customers under various programs offered by third-party consumer credit financing sources. Reductions in consumer lending and the availability of consumer credit could limit the number of customers with the financial means to purchase our products. Higher interest rates could increase monthly payments for consumer products financed through one of our financing partners or through other sources of consumer financing. In the past, we have partnered with financial service companies to assist our customers in obtaining financing to purchase our products. Our present agreements with our third-party consumer credit financing providers enable certain customers to obtain financing if they qualify for the provider's private label revolving credit card. We cannot be assured that our third-party financing providers will continue to provide consumers with access to credit or that credit limits under such arrangements will not be reduced. Such restrictions or reductions in the availability of consumer credit could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations, financial position and cash flows.

We may encounter difficulties in integrating acquired businesses and anticipated benefits of acquisitions may not be realized.

On December 31, 2015, we acquired all of the outstanding capital stock of OF Holdings, Inc., sole parent of Octane. The ultimate success of our acquisition of Octane, and any future acquisitions we may complete, depends, in part, on our ability to realize the anticipated synergies, channel and product diversification and growth opportunities from integrating newly-acquired businesses or assets into our existing businesses. However, the acquisition and successful integration of independent businesses or assets is a complex, costly and time-consuming process, and the benefits we realize may not meet targeted expectations. The risk and difficulties associated with acquiring and integrating companies and other assets include, among others:
Consolidating research and development, logistics, product sourcing, human resources, information technology and other aspects of the combined operations, where appropriate;
Coordinating sales, distribution and marketing functions and strategies across new and existing channels of trade;
Establishing or expanding manufacturing, research and development, sales, distribution and marketing functions in order to accommodate newly-acquired businesses or product lines or rationalizing these functions to take advantage of synergies;
Minimizing the diversion of management’s attention from ongoing business concerns;
Potential loss of key employees of the acquired business;
Coordinating geographically separate operations; and
Regulatory and legal issues relating to the integration of legacy and newly-acquired businesses.

The purchase consideration and other costs and expenses of acquisitions could negatively impact our net income and earnings per share and a failure to realize the anticipated benefits of acquisitions would have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations or financial condition.

If our contract manufacturers experience any delay, disruption or quality control problems in their operations, we could lose revenues, and our reputation and market share may be harmed.
 
We have outsourced the production of all of our products to third-party manufacturers. We rely on our contract manufacturers to procure components and provide spare parts in support of our warranty and customer service obligations. We generally commit the manufacturing of each product to a single contract manufacturer.
 
Our reliance on contract manufacturers exposes us to the following risks over which we may have limited control:
Unexpected increases in manufacturing and repair costs;
Interruptions in shipments if our contract manufacturer is unable to complete production;
Inability to completely control the quality of finished products;
Inability to completely control delivery schedules;
Changes in our contract manufacturer's business models or operations;
Potential increases in our negotiated product costs as a result of fluctuations in currency exchange rates;
Impact of the global market and economic conditions on the financial stability of our contract manufacturers and their ability to operate without requesting earlier payment terms or letters of credit;
Potential lack of adequate capacity to manufacture all or a part of the products we require; and
Potential unauthorized reproduction or counterfeiting of our products.
 
Substantially all of our contract manufacturers are located in Asia, primarily China and Taiwan, and may be subject to disruption by natural disasters, as well as political, social or economic instability. The temporary or permanent loss of the services of any of

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our primary contract manufacturers could cause a significant disruption in our product supply chain and operations and delays in product shipments.
 
Our third-party manufacturing contracts are generally of annual or shorter duration, or manufactured products are sourced on the basis of individual purchase orders. There is no assurance that we will be able to maintain our current relationships with these parties or, if necessary, establish future arrangements with other third-party manufacturers on commercially reasonable terms. Further, while we maintain an active quality control, factory inspection and qualification program, we cannot assure that their manufacturing and quality control processes will be maintained at a level sufficient to meet our inventory needs or prevent the inadvertent sale of substandard products. While we believe that products manufactured by our current third-party manufacturers could generally be procured from alternative sources, temporary or permanent loss of services from a significant manufacturer could cause disruption in our supply chain and operations.

Changes in international trade policy could adversely affect our business and results of operations.

All of our products are produced by third-party manufacturers, substantially all of which are located in Asia, primarily in China and Taiwan. Additionally, we make significant sales to customers worldwide, in particular to customers in Canada. Most of our imported products are subject to duties or tariffs that affect the cost and quantity of various types of goods imported into the U.S. or our other markets. The current U.S. presidential administration has indicated that it may seek changes to or withdraw the United States from various international treaties and trade arrangements. Uncertainty regarding policies affecting global trade may make it difficult for our management to accurately forecast our business, and increases in the duties, tariffs and other charges imposed on our products by the United States or other countries in which on our products are manufactured or sold, or other restraints on international trade, could negatively affect our business and the results of our operations.

Our inventory purchases are subject to long lead times, which could negatively impact our revenue, cash flows and liquidity.
 
All of our products are produced by third-party manufacturers, substantially all of which are located in Asia, primarily China and Taiwan. Lead times for inventory purchases from our Asian suppliers, from order placement to receipt of goods, generally range from approximately two to three months, of which transit time represents three to four weeks. The length of our lead times requires us to place advance manufacturing orders based on management forecasts of future demand for our products. Due to the length of our lead times, our revenue and cash flows may be negatively impacted if we do not have sufficient inventory on hand to meet customer demand for such items. In addition, our liquidity and cash flows may be negatively affected, and inventory obsolescence may increase, if the quantity of products we order exceeds customer demand for such items.
 
A delay in getting non-U.S.-sourced products through port operations and customs in a timely manner could result in reduced sales, canceled sales orders and unanticipated inventory accumulation.
 
Our business depends on our ability to source and distribute products in a timely manner. As a result, we rely on the free flow of goods through open and operational ports worldwide. Labor disputes or other disruptions at ports create significant risks for our business, particularly if work slowdowns, lockouts, strikes or other disruptions occur during our peak importing seasons. Any of these factors could result in reduced sales, canceled sales orders and unanticipated inventory accumulation and have a material adverse effect on our operating results, financial position and cash flows.
 
Unpredictable events and circumstances relating to our international operations, including our use of non-U.S. manufacturers, could have a material adverse effect on our business.

Substantially all of our products are manufactured outside of the U.S. and a portion of our revenue is derived from sales outside the U.S., primarily in Canada, but also in markets outside North America. Accordingly, our future results could be materially adversely affected by a variety of factors pertaining to international trade, including: changes in a specific country's or region's political or economic conditions; trade restrictions; import and export licensing requirements; changes in regulatory requirements; additional efforts to comply with a variety of foreign laws and regulations; and longer payment cycles in certain countries, thus requiring us to finance customer purchases over a longer period than those made in the U.S. In addition, we rely on the performance of our employees located in foreign countries. Our ability to control the actions of these employees may be limited by the laws and regulations in effect in each country. Changes in any of the above factors could have a material adverse effect on our operating results, financial position and cash flows.


 

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We may face competition from providers of comparable products in categories where our patent protection is limited or reduced due to patent expiration. Increased competition in those product categories could negatively affect our future revenues and operating results.

Sales of cardio products, especially Max Trainer® products, represent a substantial portion of our Direct segment revenues. Introduction by competitors of comparable products, a maturing product lifecycle or other factors could result in a decline in our revenues derived from this product line. A significant decline in our revenue from this product line, without offsetting sales gains, would have a material adverse effect on our operating results, financial position and cash flows.

Failure or inability to protect our intellectual property could significantly harm our competitive position. 

Protecting our intellectual property is an essential factor in maintaining our competitive position in the health and fitness industry. Failure to maximize or to successfully assert our intellectual property rights could impact our competitiveness. We rely on trademark, trade secret, patent and copyright laws to protect our intellectual property rights. Many factors bear upon the exclusive ownership and right to exploit intellectual properties, including, without limitation, prior rights of third parties and nonuse and/or nonenforcement by us and/or related entities. While we make efforts to develop and protect our intellectual property, the validity, enforceability and commercial value of our intellectual property rights may be reduced or eliminated. We cannot be sure that our intellectual property rights will be maximized or that they can be successfully asserted. There is a risk that we will not be able to obtain and perfect our own intellectual property rights or, where appropriate, license intellectual property rights necessary to compete successfully within the marketplace for our products. We cannot be sure that these rights, if obtained, will not be invalidated, circumvented or challenged in the future. If we do not, or are unable to, adequately protect our intellectual property, then we may face difficulty in differentiating our products from those of our competitors and our business, operating results and financial condition may be adversely affected.
 
Trademark infringement, patent infringement or other intellectual property claims relating to our products could increase our costs.
 
Our industry is susceptible to litigation regarding trademark and patent infringement and other intellectual property rights. We could become a plaintiff or defendant in litigation involving trademark or patent infringement claims or claims for breach of a license agreement. The prosecution or defense of intellectual property litigation is both costly and disruptive of the time and resources of our management, regardless of the claim's merit. We could also be required to pay substantial damages or settlement costs to resolve intellectual property litigation or related matters.

We may not be able to successfully acquire intellectual property rights, protect existing rights, or potentially prevent others from claiming that we have violated their proprietary rights. We could incur substantial costs in defending against such claims even if they are without basis, and we could become subject to judgments or settlements requiring us to pay substantial damages, royalties or other charges.

We are subject to periodic litigation, product liability risk and other regulatory proceedings, which could result in unexpected expense of time and resources.
 
From time to time, we may be a defendant in lawsuits and regulatory actions relating to our business or the former operations of our discontinued Commercial business segment. Due to the inherent uncertainties of litigation and regulatory proceedings, we cannot accurately predict the ultimate outcome of any such proceedings. An unfavorable outcome could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, any significant litigation in the future, regardless of its merits, could divert management's attention from our operations and may result in substantial legal costs.
 
Disruption to our information and communication systems could result in interruptions to our business and potential implementation of new systems for critical business functions may heighten the risk of disruption.
 
Our business is reliant on information and communication technology, and a substantial portion of our revenues are generated with the support of information and communication systems. The success of our Direct business is heavily dependent on our ability to respond to customer sales inquiries and process sales transactions using our call center communication systems, Internet websites and similar data monitoring and communication systems provided and supported by third-parties. If such systems were to fail, or experience significant or lengthy interruptions in availability or service, our revenues could be materially affected. We also rely on information systems in all stages of our product cycle, from design to distribution, and we use such systems as a method of communication between employees, suppliers and customers. In addition, we use information systems to maintain our accounting records, assist in trade receivables collection and customer service efforts, and forecast operating results and cash flows.
 

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System failures or service interruptions may occur as the result of a number of factors, including: computer viruses; hacking or other unlawful activities by third parties; disasters; equipment, hardware or software failures; ineffective design or implementation of new systems or systems upgrades; cable outages, extended power failures, or our inability or failure to properly protect, repair or maintain our communication and information systems. To mitigate the risk of business interruption, we have in place a disaster recovery program that targets our most critical operational systems. If our disaster recovery system is ineffective, in whole or in part, or efforts conducted by us or third-parties to prevent or respond to system interruptions in a timely manner are ineffective, our ability to conduct operations would be significantly affected. If we do not consider the potential impact of critical decisions related to systems or process design and implementation, this could lead to operational challenges and increased costs. Any of the aforementioned factors could have a material adverse effect on our operating results, financial position and cash flows.

System security risks, data protection breaches and cyber-attacks could disrupt our operations.

We manage and store various proprietary information and sensitive or confidential data relating to our business, including sensitive and personally identifiable information. Breaches of our security measures or the accidental loss, inadvertent disclosure or unapproved dissemination of proprietary information or sensitive or confidential data about us, or our customers, including the potential loss or disclosure of such information or data as a result of fraud, trickery or other forms of deception, could expose us, our customers or the individuals affected to a risk of loss or misuse of this information, result in litigation and potential liability for us, damage our brand and reputation or otherwise harm our business. In addition, the cost and operational consequences of implementing further data protection measures could be significant.

Experienced computer programmers and hackers may be able to penetrate our network security and misappropriate or compromise our confidential information or that of third parties, create system disruptions or cause shutdowns. Computer programmers and hackers also may be able to develop and deploy viruses, worms and other malicious software programs that attack or otherwise exploit any security vulnerabilities of our systems. In addition, sophisticated hardware and operating system software and applications that we procure from third parties may contain defects in design or manufacture, including "bugs" and other problems that could unexpectedly interfere with the operation of the system. The costs to us to eliminate or alleviate cyber or other security problems, bugs, viruses, worms, malicious software programs and security vulnerabilities could be significant, and our efforts to address these problems may not be successful and could result in interruptions, delays, cessation of service and loss of existing or potential customers that may impede our revenue, manufacturing, distribution or other critical functions.

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments

None.

Item 2. Properties

Following is a summary of each of our properties as of December 31, 2017:
Company
 
Location
 
Primary Function(s)
 
Owned or
Leased
Nautilus
 
Washington
 
Corporate headquarters, customer call center, retail store and R&D facility
 
Leased
Octane
 
Minnesota
 
Design, sales, service and R&D facility
 
Leased
Nautilus
 
Ohio
 
Warehouse and distribution facility
 
Leased
Nautilus
 
Oregon
 
Warehouse and distribution facility
 
Leased
Nautilus
 
China
 
Quality assurance office
 
Leased
Octane
 
Netherlands
 
Sales and service office
 
Leased

The Nautilus properties are used by both our Direct and Retail segments, and the Octane properties are primarily used for our Retail segment. The properties generally are well-maintained, adequate and suitable for their intended purposes, and we believe our existing properties will meet our operational needs for the foreseeable future. If we require additional warehouse or office space in the future, we believe we will be able to obtain such space on commercially reasonable terms.

Item 3. Legal Proceedings

From time to time, in the ordinary course of business, we may be involved in various claims, lawsuits and other proceedings. These legal and tax proceedings involve uncertainty as to the eventual outcomes and losses which may be realized when one or more future events occur or fail to occur.


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As of the date of filing of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, we were not involved in any material legal proceedings.

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures

Not applicable.

PART II

Item 5. Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

Market for our Common Stock
Our common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”) and trades under the symbol “NLS.” As of February 28, 2018, there were 45 holders of record of our common stock and approximately 11,800 beneficial shareholders. The following table sets forth the high and low sales prices of our common stock for each period presented:
 
High
 
Low
2017
 
 
 
Quarter 1
$
19.55

 
$
14.80

Quarter 2
$
19.55

 
$
16.80

Quarter 3
$
19.05

 
$
16.05

Quarter 4
$
17.25

 
$
12.40

2016
 
 
 
Quarter 1
$
21.04

 
$
16.80

Quarter 2
$
21.10

 
$
16.80

Quarter 3
$
24.99

 
$
17.68

Quarter 4
$
22.59

 
$
15.65


We did not pay any dividends on our common stock in 2017 or 2016. Payment of any future dividends, in accordance with our borrowing arrangements, is at the discretion of our Board of Directors, which considers various factors such as our financial condition, operating results, current and anticipated cash needs and future expansion plans.

Equity Compensation Plans
See Part III, Item 12 for equity compensation plan information.

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
The following table provides information about our repurchases of our equity securities during the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2017. See Note 17 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for information regarding our public share repurchase programs.
Period
(a)




Total Number of
Shares Purchased
(b)



Average
Price Paid
per Share
(c)

Total Number of Shares Purchased
as Part of Publicly Announced Plans or Programs
 (1),(2)
(d)

Approximate Dollar
Value of Shares that May Yet Be Purchased Under the Plans or Programs
(1),(2)
October 1 - October 31
45,983
$13.22
45,983
$17,586,541
November 1 - November 30
437,062
12.81
437,062
11,987,135
December 1 - December 31
11,987,135
Total
483,045
$12.85
483,045
$11,987,135
 
 
 
 
 
(1)  On May 4, 2016, our Board of Directors authorized the repurchase up to $10.0 million of our outstanding common stock from time to time through May 4, 2018. As of November 2017, the stock repurchases under this program were completed in full and the program expired.
(2)  On April 25, 2017, our Board of Directors authorized a $15.0 million repurchase of our outstanding common stock from time to time through April 25, 2019.

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Stock Performance Graph
The graph below compares the cumulative total stockholder return of our common stock with the cumulative total return of the NYSE Composite Index and the S&P SmallCap 600 index for the period commencing December 31, 2012 and ending on December 31, 2017. The S&P SmallCap 600 was chosen because we do not believe we can reasonably identify an industry index or specific peer issuer that would offer a meaningful comparison. The S&P SmallCap 600 represents a broad-based index of companies with similar market capitalization.
 
The graph assumes $100 was invested, on December 31, 2012, in our common stock and each index presented. The comparisons in the table below are not intended to forecast or be indicative of future performance of our common stock.s102stockperfgraph2017v2.jpg

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Item 6. Selected Financial Data

The following selected consolidated financial data should be read in connection with our audited consolidated financial statements and related notes thereto and with Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, which are included elsewhere in this Form 10-K. The consolidated statements of operations data for fiscal years 2017, 2016 and 2015, and the selected consolidated balance sheets data as of December 31, 2017 and 2016 are derived from, and are qualified by reference to, the audited consolidated financial statements which are included in this Form 10-K. The consolidated statements of operations data for fiscal 2014 and 2013 and the consolidated balance sheets data as of December 31, 2015, 2014 and 2013 are derived from audited consolidated financial statements which are not included in this Form 10-K.
 
 
For the Year Ended December 31,
(In thousands, except per share amounts)
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
Consolidated Statements of Operations Data
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Net sales
 
$
406,184

 
$
406,039

 
$
335,764

 
$
274,447

 
$
218,803

Cost of sales
 
202,302

 
194,514

 
162,530

 
133,872

 
112,326

Gross profit
 
203,882

 
211,525

 
173,234

 
140,575

 
106,477

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Operating expenses:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  Selling and marketing
 
116,222

 
115,437

 
101,618

 
81,059

 
66,486

  General and administrative
 
27,111

 
28,775

 
21,441

 
22,131

 
18,705

  Research and development
 
15,446

 
13,919

 
9,904

 
7,231

 
5,562

  Asset impairment charge(1)
 
8,800

 

 

 

 

    Total operating expenses
 
167,579

 
158,131

 
132,963

 
110,421

 
90,753

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Operating income
 
36,303

 
53,394

 
40,271

 
30,154

 
15,724

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other income (expense):
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  Interest income
 
653

 
234

 
218

 
63

 
14

  Interest expense
 
(1,552
)
 
(1,928
)
 
(22
)
 
(25
)
 
(36
)
  Other, net
 
301

 
(119
)
 
(445
)
 
32

 
337

    Total other income (expense)
 
(598
)
 
(1,813
)
 
(249
)
 
70

 
315

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Income from continuing operations before income taxes
 
35,705

 
51,581

 
40,022

 
30,224


16,039

Income tax expense (benefit)(2),(3)
 
8,080

 
16,480

 
13,219

 
9,841

 
(32,085
)
Income from continuing operations
 
27,625

 
35,101

 
26,803

 
20,383

 
48,124

Loss from discontinued operations
 
(1,358
)
 
(923
)
 
(201
)
 
(1,588
)
 
(170
)
Net income
 
$
26,267

 
$
34,178

 
$
26,602

 
$
18,795

 
$
47,954

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Basic income per share from continuing operations
 
$
0.90

 
$
1.13

 
$
0.86

 
$
0.65

 
$
1.55

Basic loss per share from discontinued operations
 
(0.04
)
 
(0.03
)
 
(0.01
)
 
(0.05
)
 
(0.01
)
Basic net income per share
 
$
0.86

 
$
1.10

 
$
0.85

 
$
0.60

 
$
1.54

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Diluted income per share from continuing operations
 
$
0.89

 
$
1.12

 
$
0.85

 
$
0.64

 
$
1.53

Diluted loss per share from discontinued operations
 
(0.04
)
 
(0.03
)
 
(0.01
)
 
(0.05
)
 
(0.01
)
Diluted net income per share
 
$
0.85

 
$
1.09

 
$
0.84

 
$
0.59

 
$
1.52

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Shares used in per share calculations:
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  Basic
 
30,671

 
31,032

 
31,288

 
31,253

 
31,072

  Diluted
 
31,010

 
31,301

 
31,589

 
31,688

 
31,457

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
As of December 31,
Consolidated Balance Sheets Data
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
Cash and investments(4)
 
$
85,196

 
$
79,617

 
$
60,776

 
$
72,190

 
$
40,979

Working capital(4)
 
91,118

 
84,951

 
69,373

 
83,080

 
45,662

Total assets
 
324,776

 
333,066

 
315,912

 
175,654

 
143,567

Long-term note payable, net of current portion(5)
 
31,986

 
47,979

 
63,971

 

 

Other long-term liabilities
 
16,227

 
25,825

 
29,432

 
4,911

 
4,077

Total shareholders' equity
 
179,189

 
160,857

 
126,991

 
111,072

 
91,565


15

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(1) 
Asset impairment charge in 2017 related to the Octane Fitness brand name. See Notes 1, 4, 10, and 22 of notes to consolidated financial statements for additional information.
 
 
(2) 
Income tax expense in 2017 includes a $5.6 million benefit related to the change in U.S. tax law that resulted in a lower effective tax rate compared to prior years. See Note 14 of notes to consolidated financial statements for additional information.
 
 
(3) 
Income tax benefit in 2013 includes a $38.9 million credit related to the reversal of our deferred tax asset valuation allowance.
 
 
(4) 
The decreases in cash and investments and working capital at December 31, 2015 compared to December 31, 2014 were primarily due to our purchase of Octane on December 31, 2015. See Note 2 of notes to consolidated financial statements for additional information.
 
 
(5) 
The increase in long-term notes payable at December 31, 2015 compared to December 31, 2014 was due to our purchase of Octane on December 31, 2015. See Notes 2 and 13 of notes to consolidated financial statements for additional information.

Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

You should read the following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations together with the consolidated financial statements and related notes that are included in Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K. This discussion contains forward-looking statements based upon current expectations that involve risks and uncertainties.

Our results of operations may vary significantly from period-to-period. Our revenues typically fluctuate due to the seasonality of our industry, customer buying patterns, product innovation, the nature and level of competition for health and fitness products, our ability to procure products to meet customer demand, the level of spending on, and effectiveness of, our media and advertising programs and our ability to attract new customers and maintain existing sales relationships. In addition, our revenues are highly susceptible to economic factors, including, among other things, the overall condition of the economy and the availability of consumer credit in both the U.S. and Canada. Our profit margins may vary in response to the aforementioned factors and our ability to manage product costs. Profit margins may also be affected by fluctuations in the costs or availability of materials used to manufacture our products, product warranty costs, the cost of fuel, and changes in costs of other distribution or manufacturing-related services. Our operating profits or losses may also be affected by the efficiency and effectiveness of our organization. Historically, our operating expenses have been influenced by media costs to produce and distribute advertisements of our products on television, the Internet and other media, facility costs, operating costs of our information and communications systems, product supply chain management, customer support and new product development activities. In addition, our operating expenses have been affected from time-to-time by asset impairment charges, restructuring charges and other significant unusual or infrequent expenses.

As a result of the above and other factors, our period-to-period operating results may not be indicative of future performance. You should not place undue reliance on our operating results and should consider our prospects in light of the risks, expenses and difficulties typically encountered by us and other companies, both within and outside our industry. We may not be able to successfully address these risks and difficulties and, consequently, we cannot assure you any future growth or profitability. For more information, see our discussion of Risk Factors located at Part I, Item 1A of this Form 10-K.

OVERVIEW
 
We are committed to providing innovative, quality solutions to help people achieve a fit and healthy lifestyle. Our principal business activities include designing, developing, sourcing and marketing high-quality cardio and strength fitness products and related accessories for consumer use, primarily in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia. Our products are sold under some of the most-recognized brand names in the fitness industry: Nautilus®, Bowflex®, Octane Fitness®, Schwinn® and Universal®.

We market our products through two distinct distribution channels, Direct and Retail, which we consider to be separate business segments. Our Direct business offers products directly to consumers through television advertising, the Internet and catalogs. Our Retail business offers our products through a network of independent retail companies and specialty retailers with stores and websites located in the U.S. and internationally. We also derive a portion of our revenue from the licensing of our brands and intellectual property.
 
Net sales in 2017 were $406.2 million, an increase of $0.1 million, compared to net sales of $406.0 million in 2016. Net sales of our Direct segment decreased $5.6 million, or 2.5%, compared to 2016, primarily due to decreased consumer demand for our

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TreadClimber® cardio products, partially offset by the introduction of the Bowflex HVT®. Net sales of our Retail segment increased by $6.0 million, or 3.3% in 2017, compared to 2016, reflecting sales increases across a variety of product offerings in the mass retail channel, partially offset by continued weakness in sales to specialty and commercial customers.

Income from continuing operations was $27.6 million, or $0.89 per diluted share, in 2017, compared to $35.1 million, or $1.12 per diluted share, in 2016. Income from continuing operations in 2017 included a non-cash intangible asset impairment charge of $8.8 million, and a one-time tax benefit of $5.6 million related to the change in United States tax law that resulted in the reassessment of certain deferred tax assets and liabilities.

Net income was $26.3 million, or $0.85 per diluted share, in 2017, compared to $34.2 million, or $1.09 per diluted share, in 2016.

BUSINESS ACQUISITION

On December 31, 2015, we acquired all of the outstanding capital stock of OF Holdings, Inc., sole parent of Octane, for an aggregate base purchase price of $115.0 million, plus adjustments for working capital and cash on the closing date. We funded the acquisition through an $80.0 million term loan and cash on hand. Based in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, Octane is a leader in zero-impact training with a line of fitness equipment focused on Retail specialty and commercial channels. The acquisition of Octane strengthened and diversified our brand portfolio, broadened our distribution and deepened our talent pool. Octane's business is highly complementary to our existing business from both product and channel perspectives.

DISCONTINUED OPERATIONS

Results from discontinued operations relate to the disposal of our former Commercial business, which was completed in April 2011. We reached substantial completion of asset liquidation at December 31, 2012. Although there was no revenue related to the Commercial business in 2017, 2016 or 2015, we continue to incur product liability expenses associated with product previously sold into the Commercial channel.

During 2017, our litigation with Biosig Instruments, Inc. ("Biosig") was settled. The litigation began in 2004 and alleged patent infringement in connection with our incorporation of heart rate monitors into certain cardio products of our former Commercial business. We paid Biosig $1.2 million under the settlement, and the matter was dismissed with prejudice. The settlement was expensed in discontinued operations.

CRITICAL ACCOUNTING ESTIMATES

The preparation of financial statements in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles requires estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities, revenues and expenses, and related disclosures of contingent assets and liabilities in the consolidated financial statements. An accounting estimate is considered to be critical if it meets both of the following criteria: (i) the nature of the estimate is material due to the levels of subjectivity and judgment necessary to account for highly uncertain matters or the susceptibility of such matters to change, and (b) the impact of the estimate on financial condition or operating performance is material. Our critical accounting estimates are discussed below.

Sales Discounts and Allowances
Product sales and shipping revenues are reported net of promotional discounts and allowances, including returns. We estimate the revenue impact of retail sales incentive programs based on the planned duration of the program and historical experience. If the amount of sales incentives is reasonably estimable, the impact of such incentives is recorded at the later of the time the customer is notified of the sales incentive or the time of the sale. We estimate our liability for product returns based on historical experience and record the expected obligation as a reduction of revenue. If actual return costs differ from previous estimates, the amount of the liability and corresponding revenue are adjusted in the period in which such costs occur.
 
Our calculations of amounts owed for sales discounts and allowances contain uncertainties because they require management to make assumptions in interim periods and to apply judgment regarding a number of factors, including estimated future customer purchases and returns.

Goodwill and Other Long-Term Assets Valuation
We evaluate our indefinite-lived intangible assets and goodwill for potential impairment annually or when events or circumstances indicate their carrying value may be impaired. Definite-lived intangible assets, including acquired trade names, customer relationships, patents and patent rights, and other long-lived assets, primarily property, plant and equipment, are evaluated for impairment when events or circumstances indicate the carrying value may be impaired. In 2017, we recognized a non-cash

17

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intangible asset impairment charge of $8.8 million related to the indefinite-lived Octane Fitness brand name. No goodwill or other long-term asset impairment charges were recognized in 2016 or 2015.

Our impairment evaluations contain uncertainties because they require management to make assumptions and to apply judgment in order to estimate future cash flows and asset fair values. Our judgments regarding potential impairment are based on a number of factors including: the timing and amount of anticipated cash flows; market conditions; relative levels of risk; the cost of capital; terminal values; royalty rates; and the allocation of revenues, expenses and assets and liabilities to reporting units. Each of these factors can significantly affect the value of our goodwill or other long-term assets and, thereby, could have a material adverse effect on our financial position and results of operations.

Product Warranty Obligations
Our products carry defined warranties for defects in materials or workmanship. Our product warranties generally obligate us to pay for the cost of replacement parts, cost of shipping the parts to our customers and, in certain instances, service labor costs. At the time of sale, we record a liability for the estimated costs of fulfilling future warranty claims. The estimated warranty costs are recorded as a component of cost of sales, based on historical warranty claim experience and available product quality data. If necessary, we adjust our liability for specific warranty matters when they become known and are reasonably estimable. Our estimates of warranty expenses are based on significant judgment, and the frequency and cost of warranty claims are subject to variation. Warranty expenses are affected by the performance of new products, significant manufacturing or design defects not discovered until after the product is delivered to the customer, product failure rates and variances in expected repair costs.

Unrecognized Tax Benefits
Significant judgments are required in determining tax provisions and evaluating tax positions. Such judgments require us to interpret existing tax law and other published guidance as applied to our circumstances. If our financial results or other relevant facts change, thereby impacting the likelihood of realizing the tax benefit of an uncertain tax position, significant judgment would be applied in determining the effect of the change. A tax benefit from an uncertain tax position may be recognized when it is more likely than not that the position will be sustained based on the technical merits of the position upon examination, including resolutions of any related appeals or litigation.



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Table of Contents

RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

The discussion that follows should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes in this report. All comparisons to prior year results are in reference to continuing operations only in each period, unless otherwise indicated.

Results of operations information was as follows (in thousands):
 
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
 
 
 
 
2017
 
2016
 
Change
 
% Change
Net sales
$
406,184

 
$
406,039

 
$
145

 
 %
Cost of sales
202,302

 
194,514

 
7,788

 
4.0
 %
Gross profit
203,882

 
211,525

 
(7,643
)
 
(3.6
)%
Operating expenses:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Selling and marketing
116,222

 
115,437

 
785

 
0.7
 %
General and administrative
27,111

 
28,775

 
(1,664
)
 
(5.8
)%
Research and development
15,446

 
13,919

 
1,527

 
11.0
 %
Asset impairment charge
8,800

 

 
8,800

 
 %
Total operating expenses
167,579

 
158,131

 
9,448

 
6.0
 %
Operating income
36,303

 
53,394

 
(17,091
)
 
(32.0
)%
Other income (expense):
 
 
 
 


 
 
Interest income
653

 
234

 
419

 
 
Interest expense
(1,552
)
 
(1,928
)
 
376

 
 
Other, net
301

 
(119
)
 
420

 
 
Total other expense, net
(598
)
 
(1,813
)
 
1,215

 
 
Income before income taxes
35,705

 
51,581

 
(15,876
)
 
 
Income tax expense
8,080

 
16,480

 
(8,400
)
 
 
Income from continuing operations
27,625

 
35,101

 
(7,476
)
 
 
Loss from discontinued operations, net of income taxes
(1,358
)
 
(923
)
 
(435
)
 
 
Net income
$
26,267

 
$
34,178

 
$
(7,911
)
 
 
 

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Table of Contents

 
Year Ended December 31,
 
 
 
 
 
2016
 
2015
 
Change
 
% Change
Net sales
$
406,039

 
$
335,764

 
$
70,275

 
20.9
%
Cost of sales
194,514

 
162,530

 
31,984

 
19.7
%
Gross profit
211,525

 
173,234

 
38,291

 
22.1
%
Operating expenses:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Selling and marketing
115,437

 
101,618

 
13,819

 
13.6
%
General and administrative
28,775

 
21,441

 
7,334

 
34.2
%
Research and development
13,919

 
9,904

 
4,015

 
40.5
%
Total operating expenses
158,131

 
132,963

 
25,168

 
18.9
%
Operating income
53,394

 
40,271

 
13,123

 
32.6
%
Other income (expense):
 
 
 
 


 
 
Interest income
234

 
218

 
16

 
 
Interest expense
(1,928
)
 
(22
)
 
(1,906
)
 
 
Other, net
(119
)
 
(445
)
 
326

 
 
Total other expense, net
(1,813
)
 
(249
)
 
(1,564
)
 
 
Income before income taxes
51,581

 
40,022

 
11,559

 
 
Income tax expense
16,480

 
13,219

 
3,261

 
 
Income from continuing operations
35,101

 
26,803

 
8,298

 
 
Loss from discontinued operations, net of income taxes
(923
)
 
(201
)
 
(722
)
 
 
Net income
$
34,178

 
$
26,602

 
$
7,576

 
 

Results of operations information by segment was as follows (in thousands):
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
 
 
 
 
2017
 
2016
 
Change
 
% Change
Net sales:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Direct
$
219,440

 
$
225,057

 
$
(5,617
)
 
(2.5
)%
Retail
183,875

 
177,920

 
5,955

 
3.3
 %
Royalty
2,869

 
3,062

 
(193
)
 
(6.3
)%
 
$
406,184

 
$
406,039

 
$
145

 
 %
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cost of sales:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Direct
$
78,716

 
$
75,390

 
$
3,326

 
4.4
 %
Retail
123,569

 
119,080

 
4,489

 
3.8
 %
Royalty
17

 
44

 
(27
)
 
(61.4
)%
 
$
202,302

 
$
194,514

 
$
7,788

 
4.0
 %
Gross profit:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Direct
$
140,724

 
$
149,667

 
$
(8,943
)
 
(6.0
)%
Retail
60,306

 
58,840

 
1,466

 
2.5
 %
Royalty
2,852

 
3,018

 
(166
)
 
(5.5
)%
 
$
203,882

 
$
211,525

 
$
(7,643
)
 
(3.6
)%
Gross margin:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Direct
64.1
%
 
66.5
%
 
(240
)
 basis points
Retail
32.8
%
 
33.1
%
 
(30
)
 basis points


20

Table of Contents

 
Year Ended December 31,
 
 
 
 
 
2016
 
2015
 
Change
 
% Change
Net sales:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Direct
$
225,057

 
$
225,595

 
$
(538
)
 
(0.2
)%
Retail
177,920

 
106,195

 
71,725

 
67.5
 %
Royalty
3,062

 
3,974

 
(912
)
 
(22.9
)%
 
$
406,039

 
$
335,764

 
$
70,275

 
20.9
 %
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cost of sales:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Direct
$
75,390

 
$
83,238

 
$
(7,848
)
 
(9.4
)%
Retail
119,080

 
79,292

 
39,788

 
50.2
 %
Royalty
44

 

 
44

 
 %
 
$
194,514

 
$
162,530

 
$
31,984

 
19.7
 %
Gross profit:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Direct
$
149,667

 
$
142,357

 
$
7,310

 
5.1
 %
Retail
58,840

 
26,903

 
31,937

 
118.7
 %
Royalty
3,018

 
3,974

 
(956
)
 
(24.1
)%
 
$
211,525

 
$
173,234

 
$
38,291

 
22.1
 %
Gross margin:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Direct
66.5
%
 
63.1
%
 
340

 basis points
Retail
33.1
%
 
25.3
%
 
780

 basis points

The following tables compare the net sales of our major product lines within each business segment (in thousands):
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
 
 
 
 
2017
 
2016
 
Change
 
% Change
Direct net sales:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cardio products(1)
$
197,683

 
$
209,569

 
$
(11,886
)
 
(5.7
)%
Strength products(2)
21,757

 
15,488

 
6,269

 
40.5
 %
 
219,440

 
225,057

 
(5,617
)
 
(2.5
)%
Retail net sales:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cardio products(1)
143,020

 
135,562

 
7,458

 
5.5
 %
Strength products(2)
40,855

 
42,358

 
(1,503
)
 
(3.5
)%
 
183,875

 
177,920

 
5,955

 
3.3
 %
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Royalty income
2,869

 
3,062

 
(193
)
 
(6.3
)%
 
$
406,184

 
$
406,039

 
$
145

 
 %


21

Table of Contents

 
Year Ended December 31,
 
 
 
 
 
2016
 
2015
 
Change
 
% Change
Direct net sales:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cardio products(1)
$
209,569

 
$
210,578

 
$
(1,009
)
 
(0.5
)%
Strength products(2)
15,488

 
15,017

 
471

 
3.1
 %
 
225,057

 
225,595

 
(538
)
 
(0.2
)%
Retail net sales:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cardio products(1)
135,562

 
63,762

 
71,800

 
112.6
 %
Strength products(2)
42,358

 
42,433

 
(75
)
 
(0.2
)%
 
177,920

 
106,195

 
71,725

 
67.5
 %
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Royalty income
3,062

 
3,974

 
(912
)
 
(22.9
)%
 
$
406,039

 
$
335,764

 
$
70,275

 
20.9
 %
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(1)   Cardio products include: MaxTrainer®, TreadClimber®, HVT®, Zero Runner®, treadmills, exercise bikes and ellipticals.
(2)   Strength products include: home gyms, selectorized dumbbells, kettlebell weights and accessories.

Net Sales and Cost of Sales

Direct

The 2.5% decrease in year-over-year Direct net sales for 2017 compared to 2016 was primarily due to decreased consumer demand for our TreadClimber® cardio products, partially offset by a 40.5% increase in strength products. The 0.2% decrease in year-over-year Direct net sales for 2016 compared to 2015 was primarily due to decreased consumer demand for our TreadClimber® cardio products, partially offset by growth in the Max Trainer® cardio product line and a 3.1% increase in strength products. The business also benefited from higher U.S. consumer credit approval rates in both years.

Combined consumer credit approvals by our primary and secondary U.S. third-party financing providers were 54.4% in 2017 compared to 50.6% in 2016 and 48.1% in 2015.

The increase in Direct cost of sales in 2017 compared to 2016 was due to increased product costs related to unfavorable currency trends and unfavorable product mix, partially offset by the decrease in net sales.

The decrease in Direct cost of sales in 2016 compared to 2015 was related to improvements in product mix and supply chain efficiencies. In addition, unusual items that occurred in 2015, including an arbitration settlement of $2.5 million and write-off of nutrition inventory of $1.4 million, contributed to the decrease in the year-over-year cost of sales for 2016 compared to 2015.

The 240 basis point decrease in the gross margin of our Direct business for 2017 compared to 2016 was due to higher discounting of select products, increased product costs related to unfavorable currency trends, and unfavorable product mix.

The 340 basis point increase in the gross margin of our Direct business for 2016 compared to 2015 was primarily driven by the arbitration settlement and reserves for nutrition product inventory discussed above, as well as improvements in product mix and improved supply chain efficiencies.

Retail

The 3.3% increase in Retail net sales in 2017 compared to 2016 was driven primarily by sales increases across a variety of product offerings in both the traditional retail and e-commerce channels, partially offset by weakness in sales to specialty and commercial customers.

The 67.5% increase in Retail net sales in 2016 compared to 2015 was driven primarily by increased sales of our cardio products due to the acquisition of Octane Fitness, coupled with growth in organic product sales.

The increases in Retail cost of sales in 2017 compared to 2016, and in 2016 compared to 2015, were due to the increases in Retail net sales mentioned above.


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The 30 basis point decrease in Retail gross margin in 2017 compared to 2016 was due to higher promotional discounting, increases in product costs, and unfavorable mix, partially offset by higher acquired cost of goods sold in 2016.

The 780 basis point increase in Retail gross margin in 2016 compared to 2015 was primarily due to the acquisition of Octane Fitness, which had a higher gross margin, coupled with improvements in product mix and supply chain efficiencies.

Selling and Marketing
Dollars in thousands
Year Ended December 31,
 
Change
 
2017
 
2016
 
$
 
%
Selling and marketing
$116,222
 
$115,437
 
$785
 
0.7%
As % of net sales
28.6%
 
28.4%
 
 
 
 
Dollars in thousands
Year Ended December 31,
 
Change
 
2016
 
2015
 
$
 
%
Selling and marketing
$115,437
 
$101,618
 
$13,819
 
13.6%
As % of net sales
28.4%
 
30.3%
 
 
 
 

The increase in selling and marketing in 2017 compared to 2016 was primarily due to a $5.5 million increase in media advertising, coupled with a $1.0 million increase in creative production costs related to HVT, partially offset by reductions in variable sales expenses of $5.8 million, mainly reduced financing fees.

The increase in selling and marketing in 2016 compared to 2015 was primarily due to incremental sales and marketing expenses of $10.3 million related to the acquisition of Octane Fitness, coupled with a $4.9 million increase in media advertising, partially offset by decreased program costs of $0.8 million.

The slight increase in sales and marketing as a percentage of net sales in 2017 compared to 2016 was primarily due to less efficient performance of media, resulting in increased media spend to achieve 2017 Direct sales levels.

The decrease in sales and marketing as a percentage of net sales in 2016 compared to 2015 was primarily due to the acquisition of Octane and growth in the organic Retail business, both of which have a lower selling and marketing expense percentage than the company-wide average.

Media advertising expense of our Direct business is the largest component of selling and marketing and was as follows:
Dollars in thousands
Year Ended December 31,
 
Change
 
2017
 
2016
 
$
 
%
Media advertising
$65,130
 
$59,638
 
$5,492
 
9.2%
Dollars in thousands
Year Ended December 31,
 
Change
 
2016
 
2015
 
$
 
%
Media advertising
$59,638
 
$54,756
 
$4,882
 
8.9%

The return metrics we achieved on media performance declined in 2017 and 2016, requiring an increase in investment relative to the sales generated. We continue to closely monitor our media investments in order to optimize the investment and sales.

General and Administrative
Dollars in thousands
Year Ended December 31,
 
Change
 
2017
 
2016
 
$
 
%
General and administrative
$27,111
 
$28,775
 
$(1,664)
 
(5.8)%
As % of net sales
6.7%
 
7.1%
 
 
 
 

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Dollars in thousands
Year Ended December 31,
 
Change
 
2016
 
2015
 
$
 
%
General and administrative
$28,775
 
$21,441
 
$7,334
 
34.2%
As % of net sales
7.1%
 
6.4%