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Winnebago Earnings: 3 Things to Watch

By Demitri Kalogeropoulos – Jun 18, 2021 at 7:00AM

Key Points

  • Expectations are running high about sales and profitability throughout 2021.
  • Winnebago likely faced supply chain and manufacturing challenges this quarter.
  • The long-term growth outlook is bright for the RV leader.

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The RV giant reports its latest results in just a few days.

Winnebago Industries (WGO -1.28%) is likely to give investors lots of good news in its upcoming earnings report. That announcement, set for June 23, will surely feature a more than 100% sales spike compared to a year earlier, when RV production had paused during the worst of the COVID-19 retailing shutdowns in North America. But the company might have even better things to say about its earnings potential and its growth outlook as it works to keep dealerships fully stocked through spiking demand for motorhomes and towable RVs.

That manufacturing challenge, and management's comments about the backlog heading into the second half of 2021, will be a few of the biggest things on investors' minds this week.

An RV parked near a lake.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Market share

The biggest takeaway in the report will be about market share, which has been a bright spot in Winnebago's last few announcements. The RV giant's broad portfolio of brands, covering towables, luxury and standard RV motorhomes, and boating, allowed it to gain almost a full percentage point of market share last quarter.

On Wednesday, we'll learn if Winnebago again improved on its current 11.5% level. In any case, recent comments by rival Thor Industries (THOR) point to a potentially blockbuster sales result this week. Most investors who follow the stock are expecting sales to rise by over 140% to $839 million.

2. Industry dynamics

The report might contain its share of bad news, too. Thor said in early June that it struggled to secure enough parts to keep inventory levels at the right spot at RV dealerships. Winnebago likely faced the same issues, which will pressure sales growth while lifting the amount of unfinished inventory on the books.

The company had to navigate other challenges, including higher transportation and labor costs, that might have hurt metrics like gross profit margin and operating income. Still, it's more likely than not that the industry leader executed better than most of its peers. Earnings should land near $1.80 per share compared to a $0.26-per-share loss a year ago.

WGO Operating Margin (TTM) Chart

WGO Operating Margin (TTM) data by YCharts

3. Looking ahead

Winnebago will provide at least two big clues on its growth outlook. The first is its backlog figure, which will likely soar to a new record thanks to strong demand and light inventory holdings at dealerships. Both trends are good news, and they support higher pricing, too. Thor's backlog has management feeling confident that the sales rebound will at least run into early 2022, and I'd expect Winnebago to make similarly bullish comments on Wednesday.

The consumer discretionary demand picture is cloudier, though, since it depends on continued strong economic growth and rising incomes. Looking further out, Winnebago CEO Michael Happe and his team have suggested that RV demand may be fundamentally higher as people place more value on outdoor recreation.

That spells great news for the industry leader, and for shareholders. Winnebago has its strongest brand portfolio yet, a stellar manufacturing base, and a proven ability to raise prices in part by improving its product quality. Those assets should allow it to soak up more than its fair share of the industry's earnings during boom times like this.

Demitri Kalogeropoulos has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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