Winnebago CEO expects pent-up demand to drive the Covid increase in RV gross sales in 2021

Michael Happe, Winnebago CEO, told CNBC on Friday that he expected the coronavirus pandemic-inspired surge in recreational vehicle sales to continue into next year.

The comments came after the Forest City, Iowa-based company reported strong quarterly results that exceeded Wall Street’s expectations. Investors enjoyed the quarter on Friday as Winnebago shares rose more than 5%.

Winnebago reported adjusted earnings per share of $ 1.69, beating estimates of $ 1.01, according to FactSet. This corresponds to an increase of 131.5% compared to the same quarter of the previous year. Revenue for the quarter ended November 28th was $ 793.1 million, up 34.8% year over year and beating analysts’ guidance of $ 753 million.

“We were obviously very pleased with the way consumers flocked to the outdoors in 2020 as they tried to manage the impact of the pandemic on their lives and we believe you will see a similar behavioral trend in 2021,” said Happen on “close bell.”

“We believe that consumers who might have been interested in the space and category earlier this year and may not have pulled the trigger but are still very excited to find a way are in great demand for RVing and boating in the Year 2021, “added the executive.

Winnebago Industries RVs on display at Winnebago Motor Homes in Rockford, Illinois.

Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

As the coronavirus pandemic required social distancing, many outdoor recreational activities such as boating, biking, and RV travel have grown in popularity. Happe is not alone in his optimism that America’s newfound interest in nature will carry over into the next year.

David Foulkes, CEO of Brunswick, told CNBC earlier this month: “We have incredible momentum in the [boating] Industry now. We have attracted a new population. … I think that gives us great momentum, not only in the next year but also in the years to come. “

Winnebago, which sells RVs and boats, has seen a similar shift in buyers, according to Happe. “Our consumers are getting younger. They are becoming more diverse in background and profile, and they are using the products in many different ways,” he said. “The trend to work from anywhere is pretty strong right now, and many of our new consumers see these products as an opportunity to work from the street or from a nice campsite here in America.”

Winnebago’s shares are up 18% so far this year and more than 260% since the March 19 low.

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