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Net profits at smaller RV dealerships shrunk an average of 55.6% during the first 11 months of 2000, according to a survey conducted by the Spader Companies, a consultant firm that serves retailers.

The Spader firm defines smaller RV dealers as being those will less than $5 million in annual sales.

The average smaller dealer earned $74,888 during the first 11 months of 2000, compared with $168,575 earned during the first 11 months of 1999, according to the Spader firm.

Total sales at the smaller dealerships declined 7.4% during the first 11 months of 2000 to $3,467,680 but inventories increased 9.9% to $1,185,144, the Spader firm reports.

However, because smaller dealer’s expenses increased 3.4% during the first 11 months of 2000 to an average of $717,526, their net profit as a percentage of total sales declined to only 2.2%, which the Spader firm defines as being “below the minimum survival” level.

Meanwhile, net earnings at larger RV dealerships, those with at least $5 million in annual revenue, also saw a decline, but by a smaller amount, 9.8%. The average larger dealer earned $423,174 during the first 11 months of 2000, compared with $469,230 earned a year earlier.

The larger dealer’s total sales declined 0.5% during the first 11 months of 2000 to an average $11,439,448 and inventories also were reduced by 10.3% to $3,188,140.

The larger dealer’s expenses also increased 3% during the first 11 months of 2000 to an average of $1,969,590, and their net profit as a percentage of sales averaged 3.7%, which the Spader firm considers to be “just above minimum survival” level.