Harley-Davidson's ( HOG) first-quarter profit fell 37%, but the motorcycle maker still slightly surpassed Wall Street revenue expectations.

Harley also said it would stick to its shipment forecasts for 2009, but will have to cut more jobs.

Milwaukee-based Harley made $117.3 million, or 50 cents per share in the first quarter, compared with $187.6 million, or 79 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue fell 2% to $1.29 billion.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected EPS of 51 cents on $1.28 billion in revenue.

Harley also took $57.4 million in one-time charges for restructuring costs and a change in Wisconsin tax law. Minus the charges, HOG earned 59 cents per share.

Worldwide retail sales dropped 12%, and U.S. retail sales were off 9.7% from last year's first quarter.

"While we are mildly encouraged by the fact that the U.S. retail sales rate declined less in the first quarter than in the prior two quarters, we remain cautious and continue to expect 2009 to be an extremely challenging business environment," said Jim Ziemer, president and CEO, who will retire at the end of the month. "We continue to make good progress in executing our strategy for the economic downturn, and we will continue to manage our business with strong discipline."

Harley reaffirmed its plans to ship between 264,000 and 273,000 motorcycles to dealers worldwide in 2009, a 10%-13% percent reduction over 2008.

The company also expects it will have to cut 300 to 400 jobs this year and next, but that is fewer than the 800 the Milwaukee-based company originally feared.
Copyright 2009 TheStreet.com Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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