New boat sales up slightly in first quarter

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — New boat sales increased by 4.3 percent for the first quarter of 2011 for the average dealer tracked by consulting firm Spader Business Management. The company’s latest financial report covers the three months ending March 31.

“The first quarter of 2011 is in,” Spader said. “Although it’s still a small percentage of the entire year’s business, it does represent a quarter of the year and can be a good indicator of what the year will be like.”

Used boat sales were up by 26.2 percent compared to the same three months of 2010.

New boat inventory levels continue to grow and are now 12.5 percent higher than new boat inventories at the end of March 2010.

The average gross margin percentage earned on new boats was one and one half percentage points higher in 2011 compared to the same period in 2010.

Total dealership sales were up by 4 percent over sales for the first quarter of 2010.

The average total dealership gross margin percentage was only slightly higher in the first quarter of 2011 compared to the first quarter of 2010.

In terms of dollars, the average dealer continued to report about 3 percent higher spending than they incurred a year ago. Personnel, Advertising and Variable Expenses were all up.

For the first quarter of 2011 the average dealer reported a Net Operating Loss of $63,551 compared to a Net Operating Loss of $66,704 for the same period in 2010.

“With sales so far only showing a slight improvement in 2011, dealers need to continue to be vigilant with monitoring their inventory levels and their monthly spending,” the company said.

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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