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Baird: Gas, Low Confidence Stall Towable Sales

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

U.S. retail flat in June. Dealer towable sales were flat in June according to Statistical Surveys Inc., as retail trends slow. But towable results continue to outpace motorhomes (note that data is frequently revised upward). Elevated gas prices and low consumer confidence hurt results. Facing an uncertain economy in the back half of 2011, consumers seem less likely to buy and dealers are less likely to stock – leading to potentially fewer RV orders.

Towable retail flat. U.S. towable sales were flat in June and are up 7% YTD. Travel trailer registrations increased 2% (+8% YTD), while fifth-wheel demand fell 8% (+3% YTD). Keep in mind, data is frequently revised upward, and we would expect growth overall in the month as data is updated.

Inventory. Dealers restocked units throughout the winter and spring as shipments exceeded retail sales, but inventory is still relatively lean. Dealers in our most recent survey indicated that channel inventory is fairly balanced at current levels, but as confidence deteriorates, we expect dealers to manage inventory conservatively in the second half of 2011.

• Retail U.S. SAAR. We calculate a seasonally adjusted rate of retail registrations. The SAAR of U.S. towable demand (including fifth-wheels and travel trailers) fell to 147K units in June, from 157K units in May. Just over 150K units were sold in the U.S. in 2010.

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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