Despite the company’s fourth-quarter earnings falling 28%, the C.E.O. of Winnebago Industries says he remains positive about the future. The Forest City-based motor home manufacturer’s net income dropped to $3.5-million in the three months ending August 27th compared to $4.9-million a year ago.
Randy Potts says there was some decline due to the growing skittishness of consumers to make big-ticket purchases. He says many people in the industry and consumers in general were optimistic about the economy with their thoughts going into the fiscal year as well as calendar year 2011 that things were improving more than they actually were.
Potts says the motor home industry is still in a good position compared to three or four years ago when the company saw a record slide in earnings. He says it’s fair to say that things seem stable, even after a promising outlook in the spring didn’t come through in the end.
Now, the goal is to work the way through the fall, which is typically the company’s slowest time of year. Potts says the company continues to look for where the breaks will be in the economic picture and see general improvement in the R-V market. He says they’re working in the motorized piece of the R-V market that is only about 50% in unit volume of what it was for almost 25 years.
He says the company is going into the fourth year of a much smaller market than what history says “normal” should be and he hopes the company can work its way back up to that “normal” level. Potts applauds the workers of his company for being dedicated and flexible with the economic situation.
He says it’s all positive, with the company being able to still make money in a smaller market. For the full fiscal year, the company reported net income of $11.8-million, compared to $10.2-million in the previous fiscal year.
By Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City