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Baird: Towable Inventories Finding Balance

Editor’s Note: Robert W. Baird & Co. issued a client newsletter following the report on motorhome sales for the first quarter by Statistical Surveys Inc. Excerpts from the Baird newsletter follow.

U.S. retail down 2%. Dealer sales of towables fell in March, the first retail decline in over a year. Total U.S. towable retail decreased 2% (travel trailers down 2%; fifth wheels down 5%). The retail recovery has been more modest than expected in early 2011, as consumer confidence and gas prices weigh on demand. With dealer inventories more balanced, we continue to expect retail growth to determine wholesale shipments.


• Towable retail down 2%. Towable demand fell in March. Travel trailer registrations dropped 2%, while fifth-wheel demand fell 4%. Towable sales were more in line with motorhome sales in March, which fell 1%.

• Inventory. Dealers increased towable inventory throughout the winter and into early spring as shipments have exceeded retail sales each of the last six months. Dealers in our most recent survey indicated that channel inventory is fairly balanced at current levels and we expect future shipments to track in line with retail demand, excluding seasonal fluctuations.

This summary of a Baird research report is not intended as investment advice. To participate in Baird surveys and receive research reports, contact Craig R. Kennison, CFA, at ckennison@rwbaird.com.

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