Thor Industries Inc. reports institutional investors have purchased 793,000 shares of its common stock and that retail sales of its units were up sharply during November and December, when compared with the last two months of 2000.

The 793,000 shares were received by Summit Partners of Boston as a result of Thor’s acquisition of Keystone RV Co. in early November.

The 793,000 shares represent “almost all of the unrestricted shares issued for the acquisition that are available for sale,” according to Thor.

Meanwhile, excluding Keystone, Thor’s RV retail registrations for November and December were up 21% and its order backlog was up 8%, when compared with the last two months of 2000.

Including Keystone, Thor’s RV retail sales and order backlog for November and December were “more than double” the levels of the same two months a year earlier.

“Based on these positive trends, we expect that we will achieve about 27% of the travel trailer and fifth-wheel segment in 2001,” said Wade F.B. Thompson, Thor’s chairman. “Thor’s Dutchmen Classic has been the best selling retail travel trailer the past three months and our Keystone Montana and Cougar fifth-wheels are the No. 1 and No. 2 retail brands in their segment, with over 10% of the market year to date, according to Statistical Surveys,” Thompson said.

In December, consumer confidence as measured by the private sector Conference Board reported the biggest one month surge in nearly four years. More positive consumer attitudes along with low interest rates and gas prices “bode well for an upturn in the RV industry in 2002,” Thompson believes.