Year-over-year sales improve for early 2011

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Signs of an industry recovery continued as winter gave way to spring, with three regions reporting retail sales growth in February.

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According to early-release numbers, sales rose 29 percent in the East South Central (South) region, 13.1 percent in the West North Central (Great Plains) region and 0.8 percent in the West South Central (Southwest) region for the month (see the table for comparative year-over-year unit volume in February).

The New England region was hardest-hit, showing a 49.5 percent sales decline. For the 12-month rolling time frame, the East North Central (Great Lakes) region posted the only gain, as sales rose 8.3 percent.

Overall, sales were down 1.6 percent for the first two months of 2011 (compared with the same period in 2010) on 8,166 units. This is an improvement from last year, when the industry saw double-digit declines.

Numbers to date for the quarter and the year are the same. Regional results might fluctuate over time because some regions have fewer early reporting states than others.

The aluminum segment is carrying the market, with pontoons leading the way. The fiberglass category is expected to improve in the second quarter, when seasonal sales volume increases significantly.

The snapshot represents the entire fiberglass and aluminum markets, including personal watercraft. The statistics cover 28 early reporting states that represent about 67 percent of the national market. February represents 4 to 5 percent of total annual retail volume on a calendar-year basis.

This article originally appeared in the May 2011 issue.

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