Operating profits dip as off-season begins

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — New boat sales through September for the average dealer tracked by Spader Business Management were down by 5.3 percent compared to new boat sales last year at this time, according to Spader’s latest financial report.

The average dealer reported a net operating profit of 3.8 percent of sales so far in 2010 — which, in a signal that the off-season is beginning, was down slightly from August. That number compares to a net operating profit of 1.9 percent a year ago.

Total dealership sales were up just less than 1 percent over the 2009 total dealership sales level.

The average dealer reported year-to-date new boat sales of $3,037,091 compared to new boat sales of $3,207,185 in 2009. Total dealership sales were $6,799,405 compared to $6,737,066 in the prior year.

Pre-owned boat sales for the average dealer brought in $859,853 compared to $890,589 in 2009, a decrease of 3.5 percent.

New boat inventory levels were down from $2,761,481 to $1,963,506, a decrease of about 29 percent. Spader reported pre-owned boat inventory was down 22 percent to $318,248 during this period, resulting in a total inventory decline of 26.8 percent.

Spending in terms of dollars continues to remain nearly level with the dollars spent last year. Although floorplan interest expense was down, variable and fixed expenses were up.

The average gross margin percentage earned on new boat sales was 1.8 percentage points higher than the average new boat margin during 2009.

The Spader 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.

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