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Why Shares of Camping World Holdings Fell Today

By Lou Whiteman - Mar 12, 2020 at 6:35PM

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The shares hit a new all-time low midday.

What happened

Shares of Camping World Holdings (CWH 0.05%) continued to plunge on Thursday, falling another 20% for the day. In theory, the camping and recreational vehicle retailer should be well positioned to benefit if consumers avoid planes and hotels due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. But in a "risk-off" environment, it seems few want to hold on to a company that has been a poor performer since going public.

So what

Camping World shares have struggled since the company's 2016 IPO, and those woes have accelerated in recent weeks. The stock hit a new all-time low midday on Thursday and has now lost more than half of its value so far in March.

An RV parked in front of scenic lake

Image source: Getty Images.

The company's issues were well-known prior to the outbreak-induced sell-off. Camping World has been hit hard by an industrywide slowdown in RV sales, made worse by an ill-fated decision to buy the Gander Outdoors brand.

Camping World has been trying to right the ship and unwind the Gander deal, but in doing so it has been forced to cut prices and liquidate inventories. The company's best-case scenario prior to the outbreak was a slow, tedious turnaround. If the U.S. economy falls into a recession and consumers hold off on discretionary purchases, the turnaround could be much more difficult than first imagined.

Now what

In a market overrun with fear, it is no surprise that Camping World shares are having a hard time finding a bottom. The company has lost a lot of credibility with investors due to its past missteps and could find it hard to regain that trust in the middle of a recession.

The best-case scenario for Camping World is for the U.S. to slip out of the coronavirus-induced panic quickly and avoid falling into a recession. But even in that scenario the company has a tough road ahead. It's no surprise investors have no interest in going along for the ride.

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