Spader dealers’ new boat sales up slightly

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – While most dealers have seen expenses and inventory levels increase so far this year and profits decline, the silver lining for Spader dealers has been that new boat sales have been up.

That continued to be the case for the average dealer tracked by Spader Cos. during the five-month period ended May 31, but the increase is narrowing, the company reported in a recent statement.

New boat sales were up 1.1 percent, compared to the same period of 2006, having increased to $3,263,311. Used boat sales were up 19.7 percent to $545,943.

Total dealership sales were up 3.9 percent to $4,895,662 for the average dealer during the first five months of the year, compared to the same period 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 five-month period ended May 31, they were up 7.5 percent to $4,186,505, compared to the same period of the previous year, as were the average dealer’s used boat inventories, which have jumped 12.4 percent to $432,291.

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Spending was up both in terms of dollars and as a percentage of gross margin, having increased by 2.3 percentage points to 87.5 percent. Personnel, floor plan interest, semi-fixed and fixed expenses all were up, while advertising expenses were down slightly so far this year, according to Spader.

The unit gross margin percentage was down 0.5 points to 17.2 percent, while total company gross margin percentage was down 0.4 points to 26.5 percent.

Net profits were down almost 13.8 percent during the five-month period ended May 31, compared to the same period of 2006.

The average dealer earned a net profit of 3.3 percent of sales or $161,685, compared to a net profit of 4.0 percent of sales or $187,655 during the same period of 2006.

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