If you’re wondering if robots are gaining traction, go no further than the latest financial results from iRobot Corp (NASDAQ:IRBT).
The Bedford, Massachusetts, company reported this week that its gross margin widened in 2018 to 51% from 49% a year earlier. Sales of the Roomba robotic vacuum models helped drive annual revenue above $1 billion for the first time.
“The company is defining what a smart home will look like as it expands upon its ecosystem of connected robots and technologies,” said Lisa Chai, senior research analyst at ROBO Global, the Dallas-based index, advisory and research company that created the ROBO Global Robotics & Automation Index.
iRobot rallied Thursday a day after reporting fourth-quarter results that beat Wall Street estimates.
For the three months ended December 29, it posted earnings per share of $0.88 on record revenue of $385 million. The average estimate of analysts was for earnings per share of $0.50 on an expected revenue of $381.26 million.
Demand for its Roomba i7 and i7+ robot vacuums drove holiday sales in the US, according to the company. Last month, it introduced the Terra robot mower.
For 2019, the company expects revenue of $1.28 billion-$1.31 billion, which would represent year-over-year growth of 17%-20%.
"We are very excited about our 2018 performance and the opportunities that lie ahead,” Chairman and CEO Colin Angle said in a statement.
Shares of the company climbed 2.9% to $100.92 on Friday.
iRobot is a component of the ROBO Global Robotics & Automation Index, the world’s first benchmark index tracking global companies focusing on robotics, automation and artificial intelligence.
The ROBO Global Robotics & Automation Index ETF (NYSEARCA:ROBO) decreased 1.1% to $36.11 on Friday.
–This story has been updated to give the latest stock and index prices–
Contact Dennis Fitzgerald at [email protected]