Sales still down; profits, margins up

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — New boat sales through November for the average dealer tracked by Spader Business Management were down by 4.9 percent compared to new boat sales last year at this time, according to Spader’s latest financial report.

However, dealers also showing signs that they are able to operate successfully with decreased sales. The average dealer reported a net operating profit of 3.4 percent of sales. This is double the net operating profit of 1.7 percent of sales that dealers reported through November 2009.

In addition, the average gross margin percentage earned on new boat sales was 2.1 percentage points higher in 2010 when compared to 2009. The average total dealership gross margin percentage was up by 1.9 percentage points over last year. Total dealership sales continue to run slightly over 1 percent higher than last year.

The average dealer reported year-to-date new boat sales of $3,212,651 compared to new boat sales of $3,379,463 in 2009. Total dealership sales were $7,803,346 compared to $7,714,969 in the prior year.

Pre-owned boat sales for the average dealer brought in $1,040,372 compared to $1,0701476 in 2009, a decrease of 2.8 percent.

New boat inventory levels were down from $2,589,833 to $1,934,119, a decrease of about 25.3 percent. Spader reported pre-owned boat inventory was down 19.7 percent to $329,439 during this period, resulting in a total inventory decline of 23.4 percent.

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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