Camping World refocuses on RV sales as outdoor retail customers bug out

Top RV dealer Camping World is shutting down dozens of stores that do not cater to the outdoor vehicles amid a downturn in its business, the company announced on Monday.

The Lincolnshire, Illinois-based company plans to either sell, repurpose, relocate or close 27 to 37 stores that sell outdoor lifestyle products rather than RVs, Camping World’s core business.  The company has 165 locations that sell or service RVs.

“We believe the sale and/or servicing of recreational vehicles is our core and most important offering and, with the RV and outdoor consumer crossover, we believe there is an opportunity to continue growing our market share and improve our financial performance through the operation of locations with RV sales and/or service and, when feasible, our hunting, fishing and camping products,” said Camping World Chairman and CEO Marcus Lemonis.

Economists consider shipments of RVs and other luxury items a bellwether for the overall health of the U.S. economy. As of early August, RV shipments were down more than 23 percent year-over-year in July after sinking 4.1 percent in 2018, according to data from the RV Industry Association.

Multi-year declines in RV shipments occurred before each of the last three recessions, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
CWH CAMPING WORLD HOLDINGS 38.31 +0.35 +0.92%

Camping World unveiled its strategy shift weeks after a second-quarter earnings miss sent shares sharply downward. Sales of new vehicles declined 6.3 percent to 22,906 units.

The company’s stock is down more than 40 percent so far this year.

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“We will continue to open new RV dealerships and opportunistically make RV dealer acquisitions,” Lemonis added.