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The American consumer has been surprisingly resilient over the last year. No one knows that better than Thor Industries, Inc. (THO - Snapshot Report), a maker of RVs, which recently reported preliminary second quarter sales that rose 13% from last year. This Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) is a value stock with a price-to-sales ratio of just 0.6.
Thor is the largest manufacturer of recreational vehicles in the United States. It makes both motor homes and towables including the well-known Airstream.
The company also makes commercial buses and ambulances.
Second Quarter Sales Rise 13%
On Feb 2, Thor released its second quarter preliminary sales results which showed a gain of 13% to $596.4 million from $526.2 million a year ago.
RV sales, the largest segment, jumped 15% to $500.7 million. Bus sales also rose, gaining 7% to $95.7 million.
The backlog actually fell to $647 million as of Jan 31, 2012 from $689 million a year ago due to a fall in the RV backlog.
Outlook Is Strong
The worst of it seems to be over for the RV industry. This is a good sign for the rest of the economy because obviously RV's are a discretionary purchase. If those sales are increasing, then the consumer is clearly relaxing his hand on his wallet.
"Results from January retail RV shows have been positive, with good attendance and retail sales activity reported at most shows, reflecting rebounding consumer confidence, access to credit, and low interest rates," said Peter B. Orthwein, Thor Chairman, CEO & President.
"Internal tracking of Thor's recent retail RV sales activity has also been encouraging," he added.
Full Year Zacks Consensus Estimates Climb After Prelim Sales Report
The analysts are adjusting fiscal 2012 estimates after getting the preliminary sales data.
1 estimate moved higher pushing the 2012 Zacks Consensus up to $2.23 from $2.18 per share.
That is earnings growth of 23.1% as the company only made $1.81 last year.
Fiscal 2013 is also expected to also bring double digit sales growth of 18% as the Zacks Consensus rose to $2.63 from $2.57 in the last week.
Still a Value Stock
Shares were a deeper value last summer, after the big stock sell off.
But there is still value in the shares.
Thor has a forward P/E of 14.5, which is just under the cut-off I use for value stocks.
But it's other value metrics are very competitive. It has a price-to-book ratio of 2.1. A P/B ratio under 3.0 usually means a company is a value.
The company also pays a dividend with a yield of 1.9%.
Thor is turning it around in an industry that was battered by the Great Recession. With double digit earnings growth expected and a P/E under 15, Thor is a rare value play that also fits in the growth category.
Tracey Ryniec is the Value Stock Strategist for Zacks.com. She is also the Editor of the Turnaround Trader and Insider Trader services. You can follow her at twitter.com/traceyryniec.