Some thoughts about Camping World

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By Chuck Woodbury
Camping World announced its fourth quarter and 2018 yearly earnings on Friday. A day earlier it conducted a conference call with its investors. CEO Marcus Lemonis and other Camping World Holdings, Inc./Good Sam executives provided updates on the business. Read the complete earnings report and conference call if you wish.

Here is some of what I found interesting.

Camping World Holdings Inc. reported that revenue increased 10.6% to $982.4 million during its fourth quarter, ended Dec. 31, while the company incurred a net loss of $43 million during the period.

According to Lemonis, the company sold 104,296 RVs in 2018, which was up from 97,063 the year before. Think about that — more than 100,000 of the approximately 500,000 RVs sold that year were sold by Camping World — for the non-mathematicians in the crowd that’s one out of five RVs.


The average selling price of a new RV was $32,542. Gross profit per vehicle sold including finance and insurance was $8,487.

The company added 78,189 Good Sam Club members in the fourth quarter 2018 and membership increased 16.7% year over year to an all-time-high of 2.1 million members.

At Dec. 31, 2018, Camping World Holdings operated 212 retail locations including 128 Camping World RV product, parts and accessory stores; 60 Gander Outdoors stores; and 24 other specialty stores.

Camping World’s stock Friday closed at $12.92, which was down almost 70% from this time last year.


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Captn John
Captn John

“Camping World’s stock Friday closed at $12.92, which was down almost 70% from this time last year.” CW stock IMO is not one to hold but to trade. I bought soon after the IPO and sold with a 40% gain. I’m a buyer again if/WHEN it goes under $10. When the next recession hits it will go down much lower than that is my guess. In the mean time~ trade.

Bruce Maass
Bruce Maass

Observations: I have also wondered at the large inventories we see all across the country at CW and other large retailers. Even with half a million sales per year, there is carryover inventory, end of year sales prices, and all the economic folly that the automotive industry has brought upon itself for years. Over production does mean that workers are kept on the job, out source suppliers keep spitting out cabinetry, pumps, tanks, major components and doodads. OK, fine, I get economics. But, that means their will be on the lot competition between 2018 and 2019 models, a reduced market… Read more »

Captain Quirk
Captain Quirk

I’m not really sure what your point is. If it’s that there is overproduction in the RV industry, how is that a problem (unless you’re a manufacturer or seller)? Clearly it has benefited you, since you were able to get a trailer with an MSRP of $22K for $12,930. It sounds like you are complaining about the plight of buyers who paid nearly full MSRP for their rigs, but as you demonstrated yourself, that can be avoided by a little shopping around. Frankly, anyone who pays full MSRP is a fool. “Good economics for all of us would be to… Read more »

Dry Creek
Dry Creek

OK, for some reason the numbers just don’t add up.
When you buy an RV from CW, don’t they give you some type of Super Duper membership for one year? If they sold 104K units, but only netted 78K *new* members, does that imply that nearly 20K *current* members bought new units?

George Sears
George Sears

I followed the link to the conference call. In a way Mr. Lemonis is very honest… Camping World takes a $25,000 RV and when the customer drives off the lot CW has booked $33,000. They make $8500 in gross profit per unit. These are all averages. It’s no wonder that people are way underwater from the outset. There is no way to recover the $8500 you pay. I bought a TT online in 2010 for $12k. The dealer made some money, but nothing like that. Now the quality is so low you can’t just buy online. There are two segments… Read more »

Carson Axtell
Carson Axtell

As with so much else these days, the American RV industry thrives on the ignorance of its citizen consumers and therefore can afford NOT to be concerned about its reputation the way European manufacturers still seem to be. It’s all about “caveat emptor” and duping the customer out of his/her money…

Charles Wehland
Charles Wehland

Whatever happened to the promised conversation between Chuck and Marcus?

sheryl Kinney
sheryl Kinney

After this past year, I am no longer a fan of Camping World. Two people I know bought new campers, one was a very high end toy hauler. The trim fell off in various places and they refused to fix it under warranty. The other was a moderately priced bumper hitch. The slide seal leaks, they only used it twice. The slide out and floor are ruined. Again, no warranty coverage. Both had extended warranties and were less than a year old. This is not good for business, so perhaps they sell them and they get returned.

Richard (Dick) Fleming
Richard (Dick) Fleming

I purchased a small RV from CW. The refrigerator was defective and did not work from the day I bought it. After 7 months of trying to get it fixed, I was told (by the GM) that I was on my own to get it fixed. A quick phone call to Norcold and “poof” I got the defective one replaced with a new unit that worked just fine. The problem was that CW (while trying to fix issues) had left a part off. Lazy Days does a much better job at customer service!

Terry Huggins
Terry Huggins

CW sucks and are crooks and liars! I read the horror stories about CW and would never had bought from them, but they had the only model my wife just had to have. We lost our “luxury” (ha, ha) toy hauler in the Camp Fire along with everything we owned. Ended up buying a new diesel pusher motorhome from La Mesa RV and let me tell you they are a 1,000 times better than CW ever thought of being! Ya, the brand new Fleetwood motorhome has it’s problems like they all do, but these guys at La Mesa have been… Read more »

Captn John
Captn John

Strange, trim came loose in 2 places and was scratched in another on my 5er 10 months after delivery. CW fixed the issues and replaced the scratched piece under manufacturers warranty. Extended warranties do not usually kick in until after the manufacture warranty expires in 1 or 2 years. I believe there is more to the slide seal leak story as well.

Captn John
Captn John

Prices at CW are the lowest by far in a long distance at the location I use. Also at THIS location it has the best service although the highest priced service most of the time but not always. Purchase and install of a washer and a dryer was hundreds less than all others.

Mark Robbins
Mark Robbins

Just about anything you can purchase at CW can be purchased at Amazon at a reduced price. I had to replace my water pump and went to CW and while in the store used my app to see what the price was through Amazon And saved $30 on one part. CW is a great place to view RV products but their markup is too steep for me.

Captain Quirk
Captain Quirk

Repair shops always have a large markup on the parts they sell and install. That’s not unique to CW. If you are prepared to install it yourself, go to Amazon and knock yourself out. But if you want a repair shop — be it CW or any place else — to install a water pump, you’re gonna have to buy it from them. That’s just how it works. If you buy a part elsewhere and give it to a repair shop to install, and the part turns out to be defective, the repair shop is not going to eat the… Read more »

Captn John
Captn John

9 of the last 11 RV related purchases found Amazon higher and 1 equal after a fast search online.

Scott Ellis
Scott Ellis

You do have to watch. I am about to order a part for my ATV direct from the manufacturer for $190; Amazon wants $210 (both including shipping). I don’t see that a lot, but I see it more often among RV stuff than elsewhere and I see it often enough so that I usually check before I buy.

Louis P
Louis P

Yes, I found the same thing. Amazon is higher priced.

Patrick Granahan
Patrick Granahan

Whenever I drive by a Camping World location I am amazed by the massive inventory of RVs on their lots…packed in so tight it seems that it would be almost impossible to remove one for a test drive or delivery. I must ask how can they afford to carry such a massive inventory ? Are RV manufacturers consigning these units without Camping World investing any funds ? The lots are always full to maximum capacity. If they are paying for that inventory the investment must be astonishing ! It does not make sense to me unless the 20 year financing… Read more »

Robert
Robert

This really doesn’t make sense in light of the financial numbers which Chuck reported above. The company profit was almost a billion dollars, but they finished with a $43 million deficit. Add to that the lots crowded with RVs and you have to think — GROSS mismanagement.

Captain Quirk
Captain Quirk

Just to be clear: Gross sales of nearly a billion dollars, not profit. And of course a large chunk of that is the cost of good sold. I don’t know what their gross profit* was, but maybe part of the reason why they lost money is the cost of maintaining that huge inventory. (But yeah, it does seem like the company is poorly managed. Among other things, they have a horrible reputation for customer service.)
____________________________

* Gross profit = total gross sales minus cost of goods sold, before deducting for operating costs.

Ellen

Don’t they have to pay inventory taxes on all those unsold units? If so, that’s a pretty penny right there…. Seems like another odd piece to this financial puzzle.

Dan Kooienga
Dan Kooienga

It would be interesting for you to do a poll with your readers on whether they are Democrats or Republicans. Knowing what the majority is could shed some light on their perspectives. This comes to me after reading about camping world and its struggles. Most people these days, preferred to buy direct and not be strong-armed by a large middleman. Just a thought.

Howard
Howard

Am just curious to know how many “all others” Capt John got quotes from to come to the conclusion that CW was hundreds less and what part of the country he is in.

BirdsGoToo
BirdsGoToo

Howard, Obviously, I’m not Capt John, but I lived in the Albuquerque, NM, area and wanted to have a Saf-T-Plus stabilizer installed. There were only two options in town that could install it and CW was one of them. I do everything I can to not patronize CW due to their political stand against our president, but I couldn’t justify paying almost double for the installation of the stabilizer, which was the the option.

Captn John
Captn John

I’m in the SE. I had 6 quotes. One was a little less until I considered the 2400 round trip costs like diesel fuel, hotels, CGs, restaurants….

Thom
Thom

Who cares about politics….I RV as an attempt to avoid politics. Later this year, I will be going full time and will ignore everything, looking forward to meeting people and not politics!

Michael Flank
Michael Flank

I couldn’t agree more, politics has no place in the RV world. Using politics as a discussion point to analyze the mood and temperament of RVers just takes the pleasure and freedom out of RV experience.
In present day, we spend too much time analyzing and less time simply enjoying!! Our world would be a better p!ace if we could all just get along!