Dealer sales flat, profits down

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – While the marine industry braces for what many expect to be a down year for boat sales, dealers continue to report mixed results while closing in on year-end 2006.

The average of all marine dealers reporting to Spader’s 20 Group noted slightly higher new boat sales and total dealership sales – up 1 percent and 3 percent, respectively, when compared to the same period (thru November) in 2005. Margins on those new boat slipped .6 of one percentage point when compared to 2005.

Of greatest note, however, was that new boat inventories at the end of November were still running more than 15 percent higher than the prior year.

Spending, and particularly floorplan interest, has increased, in terms of dollars spent, and is also up more than three percentage points as a percentage of gross margin. Floorplan itself was up by nearly $65,000 year-over-year, rising 2.1 percentage points to 6.8 percent of gross margin.

In the end, the average marine dealer’s net profit for the period was 4.5 percent of sales, which represents a 13-percent decrease from 2005 net profit.

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