Spader dealers’ sales up despite conditions

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Net profits were down almost 200 percent for the average dealer tracked by Spader Cos. during the three-month period ended March 31, compared to the same period of 2006, the company reported in a recent statement.

“Last year in the first quarter the average marine dealer reported a net profit of $19,917,” Spader stated. “In the first quarter of 2007, the average dealer reported a net loss of about the same amount.”

The average dealer earned a net loss of 0.8 percent of sales or $18,788, compared to a net profit of 0.9 percent of sales or $19,917 during the same period of 2006.

The silver lining is that new boat sales were up 3 percent, having increased to $1,593,006. Used boat sales were up 26 percent to $248,129.

Total dealership sales were up 5 percent to $2,318,265 for the average dealer during the first three months of the year, compared to the same quarter of 2006, reported Spader.

The training and consulting firm tracks North American boat dealers, both large and small, to compile an average profile, then compares year-over-year trends in a number of different categories.

New boat inventories, which were up in 2006, continue to run higher in 2007. For the three-month period ended March 31, they were up 7.9 percent to $4,217,662, compared to the same period of the previous year, as were the average dealer’s used boat inventories, which jumped 17.1 percent to $415,976.

The unit gross margin percentage was down 1.8 points to 16.7 percent, while total company gross margin percentage was down 1.9 points to 26.5 percent.

Spending was up both in terms of dollars and as a percentage of gross margins, where it grew by 6.3 points. Personnel, floor plan interest, semi-fixed and fixed expenses all were up, while advertising expenses were down so far this year, according to Spader.

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