Towable sales continued to be battered by a stalling economy in July, incurring a 27.2% decline in registrations as the prime selling season winds down.
According to Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Statistical Surveys Inc., all towable categories posted sharp double-digit retail declines for the month from a year ago. July registrations fell to 21,089 units from 28,968 in 2007 while year-to-date totals dropped 19.5% TO 140,623 units compared with 174,662.
Retail numbers mirrored the wholesale market, which showed a 36.2% drop in towable shipments for July.
Analysts are expecting sustained weakness in the sector as retailers pare down stock heading into the fall.
“These weak sales come as the prime selling season begins to wind down,” said Craig Kennison, analyst with R.W. Baird & Co. “We do not expect improvement in retail sales until consumer confidence rebounds.”
“RV market conditions remain extremely challenging, particularly as the season grinds to a halt in the coming fall months,” said Kathryn Thompson, analyst with Avondale Partners LLC. She noted that Thor Industries Inc. “continues to take market share in the current environment, and in our opinion, will emerge as the strongest RV manufacturer, when the industry eventually turns.”
Other highlights include:
• July travel trailer sales retreated 29.1% to 13,148 units from 18,556 in the previous year. For the seven months, trailer registrations were down 21.2% to 86,556 units compared with 109,810 in 2007.
• Fifth-wheel sales declined 25.1% to 5,175 units from 6,908 a year ago while the sector was down 16.3% for the seven months with 39,244 units sold compared with 46,882.
• Sales of folding camping trailers dropped 22% in July to 2,381 units from 3,053 the year prior and declined 17% for the seven months with 12,502 units sold compared with 15,061.
• Recreational park trailer registrations fell 14.6% for the month with 385 units sold versus 451 in 2007 while year-to-date sales declined 20.2% to 2,321 units from 2,909.