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Investment Firm: Evidence Hints at ‘Retail Bottom’

The latest investment advisory from Robert W. Baird & Co. on the RV industry includes some encouraging information.

Commenting after the release this week of the third quarter financial results from Thor Industries Inc., the Baird advisers said the Thor results provide further evidence that the industry may be near thebaird_new_logo1 cyclical “bottom.”

“Thor beat expectations as aggressive cost cuts stemmed the effect of a 41% drop in sales,” Baird stated. “We see more challenges near term, but believe Thor is determined to post a profit this year and is poised to emerge stronger in the next cycle. Improving consumer confidence and easy comps provide potential for Thor and other survivors to post retail growth by the end of 2009.”

In its outlook, Baird added, “While shipments and retail sales remain down year-over-year, the rate of decline has improved. Dealers remain reluctant to accumulate inventory, but consumer confidence edged up – hinting at a retail bottom. While we note that some bankrupt manufacturers may reemerge, Thor has cut costs, accumulated cash and positioned itself as a lean survivor as the market recovers.”

The Baird report had these additional observations:

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