First-quarter earnings for Winnebago Industries are almost cut in half from a year ago. The Forest City-based motor home maker reports net income for the quarter of seven-point-nine million dollars, down from 14-point-six-million in the first quarter of 2006. After several recent record years, Winnebago Chairman and C-E-O Bruce Hertzke says despite the latest downturn, the company is pleased with the start to fiscal year 2007.
Hertzke says the motor home industry is down as a whole, but Winnebago has been able to capture more of the market share during the down time and they’re one of the few motor home makers to still turn a profit. Hertzke says grabbing market share is an important part of having earnings on the positive side of the ledger and he says the company is making sure potential motor home buyers are able to buy the product they want. He says a few years ago, interest rates and gas prices were still relatively low.
As those things change, he says consumers have to get used to the higher prices before they are comfortable with buying again. Winnebago posted record earnings the last two years, but higher interest rates and gas prices affected the entire industry.
Hertzke says it’s possible consumer confidence in buying things like motor homes will go back up in the near future. He says fall and winter are slow times for the industry but they’re hopeful spring will bring the usual upturn. Hertzke says there is light at the end of the tunnel for the downturn in the RV industry.
He says people will go back to normal buying habits once they get used to what they’ll have to spend. Total revenue for the first quarter that ended November 25th was 201-point-eight-million dollars, a decrease of 13-percent, compared to 232-point-two-million for the first quarter of fiscal year 2006.