As a follow up to statements alluding to "dumping" and "price-cutting" by competitors -- comments that were attributed to Confluence in news reports about Confluence's layoffs -- Jim Clark, president of Watermark's boat division, told SNEWS, "So far in 2002, Dagger and Perception sales (shipments) are slightly behind last year, yet last year in Q1 we were way ahead of the prior year... Dealers were anticipating another big year. A slow economy and poor weather significantly slowed demand across the board in April and May for 2001. So far in 2002, dealers are being a bit more conservative with purchases, yet retail sales are very strong. Most dealers I've talked to are up significantly over last year. In fact, we just had the best March in our history despite a more conservative dealer base. We are not overstocked, and have carefully planned inventory levels to match demand patterns. Bottom line -- we have no plans or reason to 'dump.' We anticipate a good year in 2002 and by all indications (retail sales, OIA participation figures, consumer trends, etc), we look for an even better 2003."
SNEWS View: Retailers are telling us that Dagger is back in favor as a boat of choice for many whitewater paddlers. Watermark's new warehouse facility, which we reported on months ago, is now complete, increasing boat storage capacity by 500 percent and decreasing ship times by 40 percent, according to the company. All that bodes well for retailer support in terms of on-demand ordering, accurate and on-time shipping, and the ability of the company to respond more effectively to changing weather patterns.