Investors in the growing recreational vehicle sector had reason to feel optimistic prior to a recent decline.
Forbe’s reported that shares of the two best-known U.S. RV stocks, Thor Industries Inc. and Winnebago Industries Inc., were up 170% and 180%, respectively. Shares of leading retailer Camping World Holdings had doubled in price since its 2016 IPO. But then, at the end of 2017, all three of these stocks fell out of bed. Shares of both Thor and Winnebago have lost more than a third of their value, while Camping World Holdings was down by more than half.
Despite concerns about steel and aluminum tariffs, demand for RVs remains strong. While interest rates and hence borrowing costs are up, the main reason for the weak share prices appears to be that valuations had gotten ahead of where they should have been, particularly in light of an industry characterized by booms and busts. Further, improving consumer confidence and RV sales to younger buyers appear to have re-ignited these stocks and a full blown rally may be afoot.
Specifically, far from a bust, the industry is booming. Shipments of RVs in the U.S. rose by 17% in 2017 and total sales doubled from 2011. That strength continued into 2018, with RV shipments up to 51,000 in March, the best on record according to the RV Industry Association and the first time monthly production has surpassed 50,000 units.
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