2017 CropLife 100: Some Good, More Bad

2017 CropLife 100: Some Good, More Bad

A few weeks ago, I reported that the majority of ag retailers in the 2017 CropLife 100 survey were bullish on the prospects for 2018. And given a closer look at the numbers for 2017, this make sense, because many companies did not have positive sales during this calendar year.

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Overall, it appears that all CropLife 100 retailers in 2017 had revenues that were approximately $200 million higher than in 2016. However, looking at all 100 companies that make up this year’s CropLife 100, there were only 28 that recorded any type of sales gain of more than 1% vs. 2016. More significantly, 47 ag retailers saw their overall sales drop for the year. (The remaining 25 companies had either flat sales or were new to the CropLife 100 in 2017).

If you are a CropLife 100 company, how were your sales in 2017?

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This kind of pattern might seem unique when considering all CropLife 100 companies, but it’s not. Not too many years ago, there was a year when virtually the entire revenue gain for the season had come from a single company within the ranking, when Pinnacle Agriculture was consolidating with lots of other ag retailers, building up its holdings.

And that’s what makes the overall performance of this year’s CropLife 100 all the more puzzling, since consolidation among retailers was an incredibly active trend this year. In fact, with dozens of companies within the CropLife 100 adding tens of millions of dollars to their bottom lines by merging with non-CropLife 100 companies, logic would say that the stage was set for a very strong revenue year for the whole CropLife 100.

But that didn’t happen. Apparently, the 47 companies that lost sales revenue in 2017 almost completely off-set the sales gains of the rest.

Still, the overall takeaway from the 2017 CropLife 100 is that sales for the nation’s top ag retailers were up, and compared with the sales drop recorded by this group in 2016, that’s a positive sign. Look for the rest of the numbers from this year’s CropLife 100 report in our December edition.