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The dawn of a new dealer model

Staying afloat will be less about selling boats and more about service, storage and lifestyle, experts say Few would argue that the punishing business environment of the last three years has changed the face of the recreational marine industry. But perhaps no segment has been more negatively affected, if not permanently altered, than marine retailing.…more

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A showroom for the tight-inventory era

Regal’s factory display emporium could be a short-term fix — or a new way of doing business Despite the trials and tribulations of the last 18 months, boat dealer Anthony Aisquith is feeling somewhat upbeat about his prospects in the months ahead. For one thing, the rains have come to the Southeast, and the lakes…more

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Slump catches up with megayacht sector

Despite growth in the very high end, orders for the segment as a whole were down 25 percent in 2009 After nearly two decades of stellar growth, the world’s megayacht industry finally experienced a comeuppance of sorts in 2009, joining the rest of the recreational marine industry in what undoubtedly has been the worst economic…more

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Marinas: last hit and least hurt

Their strong position before the downturn may have been a factor in helping them weather the storm As most of the recreational marine industry struggles through perhaps its worst economic decline ever, one important segment has seemed practically immune – the marina business. Through much of 2008, while sales of new and used boats, accessories…more

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Agony in the auto industry, too

Dealers are facing tight consumer credit and floorplan troubles – sound familiar? Like the marine industry, the automobile business is mired in its worst decline since the 1970s. U.S. auto sales were down roughly 34 percent through April 30 from a year ago. They declined another 34 percent in May alone, although that was slightly…more

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Winter boat shows: who’s in a buying mood

Dealers are counting on deep discounts to save the season that is so critical to many bottom lines Without a doubt, the 2008-2009 winter boat show season will go down as the most challenging in decades for dealers. Never before, say retailers, have so many negative factors come together to potentially undercut sales. What’s more,…more

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Management software: It can pay for itself

It’s a ‘strategic asset,’ not an expense, say marketers of the marine-specific packages It wasn’t all that long ago that the most efficient way for a marine dealer to measure profitability was literally to look at the bottom line — of his or her checkbook. If there was any cash left after paying the bills,…more

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Marinas find going ‘green’ pulls in customers

Many go beyond regulations, profiting from marriage of economic and environmental benefits In the not-too-distant past, marina and boatyard operators saw a swell of proposed environmental regulations as a threat not only to their livelihoods, but the boating discipline as well. Some of them included: • Permitting storm water runoff. • Requiring paints and solvents…more

Industry using CSI to build buyer loyalty

Most say emphasis on satisfaction is more critical today than ever Recreational marine manufacturers, distributors and dealers remain committed to improving customer service, while marketing and advertising budgets are being cut to the bone and staffing is being reduced to near subsistence levels. The reason, say the experts, is simple. Satisfied customers remain loyal. And…more

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High fuel prices are giving boaters pause

Some are shortening trips or tying up longer, but few appear to be bailing out altogether With gasoline prices at the dock close to $5 a gallon — even $6 or more in some coastal markets — the debate over whether high fuel prices or fuel availability has a greater negative impact on boating has…more

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