One of last week's biggest winners was Camping World Holdings (NYSE:CWH), soaring 30.6% after getting a chance to defend its recent actions before national and Wall Street audiences. CEO Marcus Lemonis appeared on CNBC's Mad Money, detailing the RV and outdoors enthusiast retailer's growth prospects. It's fitting, as Lemonis himself is the host of CNBC's The Profit. He also presented at Baird's Global Consumer, Technology & Services Conference.
Shares of Camping World had been falling in recent weeks on concerns about replacing its auditor and fears that the acquisition of Gander Mountain was signaling a shift away from the recreational vehicle market. It also put out a poorly received quarterly report last month, one that led to at least four analysts lowering their price targets on the stock.
Camping World has moved nicely higher for six consecutive trading days, but it's still trading below where it was at the beginning of last month. May was rough for investors. June is turning out to be a different story.
Life is a highway
Camping World's Lemonis explained that replacing Ernst & Young with Deloitte & Touche as its independent registered public accounting firm last month was simply a matter of price and the service being given. Lemonis said that there were no material disagreements with any of the displaced auditor's financial findings. Changing auditors is often a red flag for investors -- and Camping World stock did take a hit on the news following the May 18 filing -- but sometimes you just get a better offer that makes the sometimes-awkward handoff worthwhile. Deloitte & Touche isn't chopped liver.
Lemonis also discussed January's decision to acquire outdoors retailer Gander Mountain. The purchase was done to reach a wider audience of outdoor enthusiasts, and not a signal that it thought the RV market was peaking. He sees some overlap in core customers, particularly when it comes to fishing and RV buffs. At least 161 of the roughly 200 Gander Mountain stores will begin selling RVs, and all of them will begin stocking RV-related products.
He also defended the impact of the recent uptick in gas prices, something that has been weighing on the shares of Camping World as well as leading RV manufacturers. Lemonis argues that gas prices may eat into the number of trips that RV owners take, but it doesn't seem to be a deterrent in the actual decision to purchase an RV in the first place.
We can't say that the industry is completely immune to gas prices. A big reason why Camping World stock took a hit following last month's first quarter report is that folks are paying less for their rides. Revenue soared 20% as expansion and a 3.9% uptick in same-store sales combined to deliver healthy top-line growth, but the average selling prices for new and used RVs fell 4% and 7%, respectively.
Camping World's bullish run also wasn't helped by Thor Industries taking a hit following its uninspiring fiscal third quarter report the day after Lemonis' presentations. Thor's earnings fell short of expectations, and guidance points to rough year-over-year comparisons for the current quarter. The silver lining for Camping World investors is that the stock is still trading for just a little more than half what it was fetching when it peaked six months ago. There's still pessimism baked into the shares despite last week's rally, and we know Lemonis has a way with words.