Forest City-based Winnebago Industries saw a slight drop in revenues for the fourth quarter and for the fiscal year, but the company’s CEO says he’s positive about the future.

Quarterly revenues were $530 million, down from $536 million for the same period a year ago. Fiscal Year 2019 revenues were at 1.99 billion dollars, a fall from $2 billion in Fiscal 2018. Michael Happe says he’s pleased with the report, despite some challenges for the outdoor lifestyle product company.

“In 2019, our annual revenues of $2 billion, a record net income of $112 million, and RV share gains were truly remarkable considering the headwinds: tariffs, trade constraints, economic uncertainty, reckless partisan politics, etcetera, that challenged the industry this year,” according to Happe.

Happe says future goals for the company include strengthening and expanding the core RV business.  “Together, with our pending acquisition of Newmar, we will soon have a more complete motor home business — larger, more profitable, significant presence in all motorized sub-segments, and a stronger share of lot with the premium RV dealers in North America,” he says. Happe says the Winnebago and Grand Design brands continue to form an increasingly compelling dual-brand platform, offering a much-needed balance to the company’s legacy motorhome business.

“For the second consecutive year, Winnebago Industries, led predominantly by Grand Design, has outperformed the industry as it relates to organic gains in towables market share,” he says. “Over the past three years, our consolidated full line RV retail market share has risen from under 3% to almost 10%.” It’s the first full fiscal year the iconic boat brand Chris-Craft has been under the Winnebago flag.

Happe says Chris-Craft continued to outpace expectations with sales growth and strong demand.  “Although consumer demand within the broader boating market has been somewhat inconsistent, Chris-Craft’s premium brand continues to resonate with customers,” he says. “As we look ahead, we are excited about executing our growth plan for the business, which includes driving new product development and organic growth, improving manufacturing efficiencies and expanding our reach.”

Winnebago announced in September it was in the process of purchasing Indiana-based motorhome manufacturer Newmar in order to expand into high-priced, luxury RVs.

(By Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City)