With Camping World Holdings (NYSE: CWH) stock up 37% in 2017, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence, investors in the RV and camping gear retailer have every right to celebrate its exceptional year.
But that raises the question: After its meteoric rise, can Camping World sustain its momentum in the year ahead? Let's take a closer look to find out.
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On kicking (grass) and taking market share
Most recently, shares climbed more than 10% in the month of November alone, as the RV and camping gear retailer's solid third-quarter report was punctuated by a healthy 25% increase in quarterly revenue, to $1.24 billion. According to CEO Marcus Lemonis, Camping World is benefiting from "the continued strength in the underlying trends across our business."
Camping World saw sales of new vehicle units jump by a third, thanks to a combination of sales from new locations and 14.5% new vehicle comparable-store sales growth. Meanwhile, used vehicle sales rose a more modest 7.2%, as sales from new stores offset a 7.9% decline in used vehicle comps. Revenue from both the company's "finance & insurance" and "parts, services & other" segments delivered strong growth of 50% and 24.3%, respectively, albeit from their significantly smaller bases.
But according to market research firm Freedonia Group, overall RV market revenue is expected to be up just 5% when all is said and done in 2017 -- which means Camping World is effectively taking market share from competitors as it builds out its location base.
In some cases, that even means acquiring those competitors outright. The company announced two different RV dealership acquisitions -- one based in Central Florida, and another in Pittsburgh -- this past October alone.
Hints for the road ahead
Of course, as long as Camping World's core RV business remains healthy and growing, it stands to reason that its share price will follow suit. But the company has another iron in the fire.
Lemonis alluded to it last quarter (emphasis added): "Looking ahead, we believe we are well positioned to continue gaining share in the RV market and broadening our reach across the outdoor lifestyle consumer market."
In addition to its RV dealer purchases -- and as fellow Fool Rich Duprey recently pointed out -- Camping World has made no less than five acquisitions of various outdoor and sporting goods retailers over the past nine months. Not all of these purchases are ground-shaking; most recently CWH bought Erehwon Mountain Outfitter, a small three-store chain in the Midwest. And before that, it astutely picked up the assets of struggling outdoor products chain Gander Mountain -- which it since rebranded to Gander Outdoors -- in bankruptcy court.
After months of existing store remodels and negotiations over lease terms with landlords, Camping World subsequently announced its intention to open 69 Gander stores by May 2018. The company also plans to aggressively pursue additional expansion with more Gander Outdoors locations in the near future.
This fast-growing base of outdoor goods retail stores should serve to rapidly increase contributions from Camping World's parts, services, and other revenue line, which comprised just over 15% of total company sales in its most recent quarter. Moreover, the company has made it clear that it will focus on "operating the stores with a clear path to profitability," which means it isn't simply pursuing growth for the sake of growth.
The Foolish bottom line
There's no denying that Camping World has had a great year, and it's hard to blame some investors for being tempted to take profits off the table given the stock's recent rise. However, as Camping World continues to not only take share in the steadily growing RV market, but also accelerates its diversification efforts with a growing presence in the outdoor products retail market, I think shares will only continue to climb in response.
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