Boat builder Brunswick is accelerating to keep up with demand as more and more people become fascinated with boating, CEO David Foulkes stated on Friday. The government told CNBC’s Jim Cramer that gross sales of Brunswick boats had increased double-digit for three consecutive quarters, including the fact that buyers had grown in number in terms of age, gender and race.
“The Freedom Boat Club now has 35% of its members women, which is a completely different participation in boating than a few years ago,” said Foulkes in a “Mad Money” interview, referring to membership only for members in Braunschweig acquired in 2019. “I think this is a very, very good time for us and for the industry as a whole.”
Braunschweig said on Thursday that first quarter boat sales were up 44% year over year. Boat sales, which accounted for a third of Brunswick’s business for the quarter, were up 12% from the pre-pandemic.
Foulkes said it marks the start of a new cycle for Brunswick, whose boat brands include Sea Ray, Bayliner and Boston Whaler. The $ 8.3 billion company also builds engines and other parts for watercraft.
Pandemic-era shutdowns spurred participation in outdoor activities as many Americans and people overseas looked for new ways to entertain themselves. More flexible labor trends also made it easier for many to spend time on the water outside of the weekends, adding to the value of a boat owner, Foulkes added.
Foulkes also said that dealer inventories in Brunswick were down about 41%, compounded by high demand in the US, European, Australian and New Zealand markets. The company hired 1,000 more people in the last quarter. Foulkes noted that Brunswick would like to continue expanding its workforce as capacity in factories around the world.
“We believe it will be 2023 or 2024 before we can significantly rebuild those inventory levels, and we anticipate that we will be essentially in wholesale production throughout the period in order to not just meet this historic retail demand satisfy, but also replenish our pipeline all the time, ”said Foulkes.