Many investors associate recreational vehicles with the disco revolution and Watergate, but the RV lifestyle has seen a renaissance that has lifted the industry into a new period of fast growth. Camping World Holdings (CWH -1.01%) just went public in late 2016, but the stock has already seen huge gains, and the question is whether the RV retail specialist can cash in on favorable trends in the RV industry and generate impressive growth.
Coming into Thursday's first-quarter financial report, Camping World investors had hoped to see good signs of continuing gains in sales and earnings from the company, and Camping World largely delivered on those wishes. Let's take a closer look at Camping World Holdings to see how it did and what's coming down the road for the RV retailer.
Camping World hits the open road
Camping World Holdings did a good job during the first quarter of establishing itself as a solid growth company. Revenue climbed 11% to $883.8 million, which was well ahead of the $842 million in sales that investors had expected to see. Adjusted net income jumped by nearly half to $31.6 million, and that produced adjusted earnings of $0.38 per share, topping the consensus forecast of $0.34 among those following the stock.
Looking more closely at the report, Camping World's fundamentals were reasonably strong. Same-store sales jumped 9.6% from year-ago levels, and the company said that finance and insurance led the way in promoting those gains. Strength in the new-vehicle market also contributed to positive comps, while a drop in sales of parts, services, and used vehicles moderated growth.
New vehicle units sold jumped by 31% to nearly 13,800, helping to drive sales growth. However, the average selling price of new vehicles that Camping World sold fell by 6% to about $36,700. Strong demand pushed unit sales higher, and the fact that an increasing number of new customers are looking at lower-priced towable RVs rather than motorhomes pulled the overall price lower.
Meanwhile, on the used-vehicle front, Camping World has seen a reduction in interest among consumers. Used unit sales volume dropped by nearly a fifth to just over 6,500, and average selling prices were up only 1% to about $22,500. Available inventory of used vehicles was weak during the quarter, and Camping World had already moved to de-emphasize the business by distributing its AutoMatch business in the second quarter of 2016.
Camping World also saw favorable results from its consumer services and plans business. The high-margin unit saw growth of nearly 12%, with the company citing increased demand for roadside assistance contracts, vehicle insurance, and TravelAssist programs.
What's ahead for Camping World?
CEO Marcus Lemonis was happy about Camping World's performance. "Trends across our business continue to be strong," Lemonis said, "and we are very pleased with our first quarter financial results." The CEO pointed to the company's business model as being extremely important to its success, claiming the status of "the only provider of a comprehensive portfolio of services, protection plans, products, and resources for RV enthusiasts."
Moreover, Camping World is excited about the future. As interest in recreational vehicles continues to climb industrywide, the company believes that its RV-centric retail locations will draw more traffic. Camping World would like to see a positive network effect from loyal customers that gravitate to its user-friendly retail locations nationwide, and already, the potential success of that business model is shining through.
Still, the big question facing Camping World is whether competition will become even fiercer than in the past. RV manufacturers have seen a big jump in demand throughout their dealer networks, and so other dealers will want to answer Camping World's call with promotional activity of their own. It will be up to Camping World to show that its business model truly outperforms those of smaller rivals in the industry.
Camping World investors were quite pleased with the report, and the stock climbed more than 5% in the opening minutes of the regular trading session Friday following the Thursday afternoon announcement. As RVs maintain their popularity, Camping World hopes to be in an increasingly attractive position to profit from the favorable trends in the industry.