The hot brands of the Millennial moment — you can tick them off: Adidas. Snapchat. Winnebago.
Yes, Winnebago Industries Inc. Sure, most of the youngs don’t have $468,000 to drop on a rolling condominium with quartz countertops and heated floors. But like many seniors living the ride-or-die life, they do like to drive into the dessert and get weird now and then.
Bloomberg reported that Winnebago, along with its competitors in the recreational vehicle industry, has finally stopped trying to upsell a huge swath of potential customers who may have a stigmatized view of massive motorhomes. Late last year, the company bought Grand Design RV Co., which makes a line of towable rigs, more efficient and affordable than RVs with a cab and an engine. The brand complements a growing line of minimalist products at Winnebago, including the Minnie, the Micro Minnie, and the (frankly adorable) Winnie Drop.
The company on Wednesday posted a surge of 64% in its fiscal second-quarter sales to $370.5 million, almost half of which came from towable rigs, while revenue from motorized products declined slightly. Winnebago’s profit margin has widened by two percentage points, thanks to the Grand Design purchase. “We couldn’t be more excited about the strategic financial and cultural impact this acquisition will bring to Winnebago,” CEO Michael Happe told analysts this morning.
As reported by Bloomberg, Winnebago isn’t the only manufacturer to realize that small is plenty beautiful. The RV industry just had its best year in four decades, thanks largely to a glut of trimmed-down rigs, like Winnebago’s Winnie and the kitschy Basecamp from Airstream Inc., which is owned by RV giant Thor Industries Inc. Also helping to drive business: a low unemployment rate, low gas prices, and cheap financing.
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