Forest City-based Winnebago Industries saw its fiscal first-quarter earnings slide 73% as inventory expenses rose and margins weakened. Still, the manufacturer of motor homes did benefit from higher average prices.
For the quarter ending November 26th, Winnebago reported a profit of just over $1-million, or four-cents a share, down from $3.8-million, or 13-cents a share, a year earlier.
C.E.O. Randy Potts says benefitting from higher average prices was the result of retooling one of Winnebago’s products. He says their “diesel pusher” product line is doing well for the company. They redesigned the high-end diesel pusher and introduced a 42-foot tag-axle unit, which at that point, was the longest motor home they ever made.
He says that product line in itself is the reason for the average selling prices going up. Potts says the company has to continue looking into the future and reacting to changes in market conditions. He says the economic conditions and the cost of the materials to make the motor homes are always two of the biggest factors in the company being successful.
He says about 68-to-70% of the company’s product cost goes to the materials they buy to build the products. One of the key barometers at the beginning of the fiscal year is the response to Winnebago’s product line at the National R-V Trade Show in Louisville, Kentucky. Potts says the company was pleased with the dealer interest in Winnebago products.
He says they put a lot of emphasis on how that show goes each year and they always want to see a positive turn out like they did from their dealer base. Revenue for the company rose 6.6% to $131.8 million, with total motor home deliveries declining just under 7% from a year earlier.
By Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City