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July boat sales tumble; one region shows growth

Preliminary boat sales numbers for July showed one region with positive growth and the market as a whole declining 18.8 percent.

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The East North Central (Great Lakes) region reported growth of 3.5 percent. The Pacific region continued to be the hardest-hit region again this month with a 38.2 percent decline.

For the 12-month rolling time frame, the New England region posted the smallest contraction, dropping 3.3 percent. Year-to-date, the East North Central Region posted the smallest decline, dropping only 1.4 percent. The 2010 year-to-date rate of decline increased from last month's 11.2 percent dip, dropping 12.8 percent for the first seven months of 2010.

Nationally, on the fiberglass side, sailboats were up 5 percent on 213 units and, on the aluminum side, pontoons were up 7 percent on 2,875 units.

The East North Central region was the only region showing growth. It was encouraging to see only single-digit declines in the New England and East South Central regions, but surprising to see the increased rate of decline in the South Atlantic region (Delaware to Florida) after June's improvement. Perhaps the Gulf oil spill influenced retail activity on the west coast of Florida. The single-digit growth in sailboats and aluminum pontoons show that some segments are beginning to see the floor.

These numbers represent the entire fiberglass and aluminum markets, including PWC. These statistics include 30 early reporting states, approximately 65 percent of the national market.

Aarn D. Rosen is national marine sales manager for Statistical Surveys, the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based firm that tracks retail boat sales.

This article originally appeared in the October 2010 issue.

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