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NMMA reports boost in wholesale shipments in May

Wholesale shipments grew 12.8 percent year over year in May for the National Marine Manufacturers Association control group of manufacturers and 2 percent overall for the calendar year.

Wholesale shipments of ski boats and aluminum outboards continue to rise in 2013, up 13.2 percent and 6.2 percent for the year to date and year over year respectively, the NMMA reported. Together they represent the bulk of traditional powerboats sold at wholesale and offset slowdowns in all other boat segments that were coming off highs in 2012.

Cruiser volumes grew for the first time in 2013, up 2.4 percent year over year in May, and although volumes were down 13.4 percent for the year to date, compared with the prior year, production was still at the second-highest level recorded since 2010.

Through the first quarter, retail sales of aluminum outboards — which are mostly pontoons — were down, relative to wholesale shipments, on a rolling 12-month basis for the first time in four quarters, suggesting that dealers are starting to replenish inventories after consecutive quarters of running lean, the NMMA said. Advance data indicate that sales were up 6 percent on a rolling 12-month basis year over year through May for bellwether states.

Estimates of traditional powerboat retail sales were up 4.3 percent year over year on a rolling 12-month basis, with continued strength in sales of smaller boats (ski boats, outboard boats, jetboats, and PWCs up 9.4 percent, 4.8 percent, 27 percent, and 7.5 percent, respectively) offsetting declines in sales of other traditional powerboat segments.

Registrations of new boats were up across all regions, ranging from 1.7 percent to 11.8 percent.

The South Atlantic region, which spans the Atlantic Coast from Delaware south to Florida and represents 24.3 percent of the market, led sales among the high-volume regions and was up 5.2 percent.

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