Motorhome manufacturer Winnebago Industries Inc. reported its earnings were down 31% and its sales were down 11% during the first quarter of its fiscal year 2001, which ended Nov. 25.

The company earned $8.5 million during the September-through-November period.

However, Winnebago earned $9.6 million during the three months ended Nov. 25 if the impact of a change in accounting practices is included. The $9.6 million profit is 22% below the $12.4 million Winnebago earned during the same period a year earlier.

Meanwhile, the company’s sales totaled $164.2 million during the three months ended Nov. 25, compared with $184.9 million a year earlier.

Winnebago believes its next two quarters will “remain below prior year levels as a result of higher interest rates and decreased consumer confidence levels.”

However, Winnebago executives believe interest rates may have peaked and energy prices may have stabilized, so the company believes the RV market will start to improve next summer.