Following on the heels of  this week’s report from Statistical Surveys Inc. (SSI) on retail sales of motorhomes in October, the investment firm of Robert W. Baird & Co., sent a routine newsletter to its clients. Excerpts from that advisory follow.

U.S. Motorhome retail up in October. Motorhome (Class A & C) industry retail grew 5% in October, according to Statistical Surveys Inc. Class A sales grew 4% while Class C retail increased 7%. Winnebago retail grew 18% in October, the second month of its fiscal Q1, pushing QTD growth for Winnebago to +12%. Thor already reported results for the October quarter. On December 11, Thor announced a $1.50/share special dividend, citing tax policy.

Motorhome retail registrations in the U.S. increased 5% in October. Class A registrations grew 4% while Class C registrations increased 7%. Motorhome retail is up 7% YTD in the United States. Comparisons become more difficult beginning in November.

Solid QTD results for Winnebago. Winnebago motorhome (A and C) retail grew 18% in the United States in October, which represents the second month of fiscal Q1. We model Winnebago North American retail growth at 11% for the November quarter, taking in to account an additional week versus the first fiscal quarter last year. SSI data indicate Winnebago has increased its share of the combined Class A and C market by 1.3pp versus last year.

Thor retail grew 21% in fiscal Q1. Thor motorhome retail improved 21% in the United States during fiscal Q1. However, Thor already reported fiscal Q1 results on November 26, so this month’s data report is not incremental.

Thor announces special dividend ahead of tax policy changes. Thor announced a special cash dividend of $1.50/share payable on Dec. 28 for shareholders of record on Dec. 21. The company has approximately $4.00 per share in cash. Thor also announced plans to accelerate its regular $0.18/share dividend to December from January, payable on the same date as the special dividend. Management cited the uncertainty surrounding future tax policy.