New boat inventory levels keep falling

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – New boat inventory levels for the average dealer tracked by Spader Business Management were down a little more than 14 percent for the month of February – from $3,822,679 to $3,280,913 – when compared to the same month last year, the second-consecutive month they have fallen in comparison to 2008, the company recently reported.

Used boat inventory, however, was up 28.6 percent to $458,610 in February (the second-straight month those levels have risen) Spader reported, resulting in a total inventory decline of 10.5 percent.

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 sales were down 36.6 percent in February, when compared to the same month of 2008, to $404,514. Pre-owned boat sales rose 14.5 percent from $94,986 in January of last year to $108,795 this February.

Total dealership sales fell 33.5 percent, when compared to the same month last year. F&I revenue fell 47.8 percent and service revenue dropped 23.6 percent for the month, while parts and accessories revenue was down 16.7 percent, marina revenue was down 6.6 percent and other department sales fell 40.7 percent.

The total dealership gross margin percentage was up by 2.8 percentage points. The average dealer reported a significant increase (4.7 points) in the gross margin on parts & accessories.

Spending was down in all expense categories in terms of dollars. However, as a percentage of gross margin, the average dealer spent more in the first two months of 2009.

The average dealer reported a net loss of $100,473 for the first two months of 2009. This is slightly less than the average net loss of $114,495 that was reported for the first two months of 2008.

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