The pool industry’s economic forecast appears to be looking
up — or at least leveling off — according to data
discussed at PoolCorp’s annual International Sales
At the conference, which took place Oct. 3-5, PoolCorp CEO Manuel
Perez de la Mesa and Vice President/CFO Mark Joslin reviewed the
latest data on the pool market.
The leaders are cautiously optimistic, noting that many regions of
the country are beginning to rebound.
“Having hit bottom in 2009 and 2010, we’ve seen new
construction, as well as remodeling and refurbishment, grow a
little in 2011,” Joslin said. “Those are positive
Perhaps the most clear-cut indicator of industry growth is an
increase in new-pool construction, which rose slightly nationwide
in 2011, following a mostly level 2010. Though 2011 starts are
predicted to remain below 50,000, the overall trend forms an
undeniable uptick, and PoolCorp executives expect new construction
to rise by a healthy 12.3 percent in 2012. Much of that spending is
expected to be focused on the commercial market.
“There’s definitely more new-pool construction going on
in our area than there was a year ago,” said Tommy Canaday,
general manager of PoolCorp’s Central Division in Baton
Rouge, La. “We’re seeing an increase in sales of
However, market conditions in the Southwest are more mixed, with
Nevada continuing to decline while Arizona appears to have leveled
out with pool construction in Phoenix metro up by 2 percent, and
the state down by 2 percent, according to permit data.
Also, at PoolCorp’s Credit Suisse Small Midcap Conference in
September, Joslin pointed out that even through the recession, more
pools have been added to the overall market than have been taken
out of service, according to P.K. Data Inc. 2011 saw a continuation
of this trend, with approximately 5.3 million inground pools and
4.5 million aboveground pools now in operation.
PoolCorp officers also noted that renovation has shown small but
distinct growth in 2011. This means that, along with an increase in
purchases of building supplies, there is an accompanying rise in
spending on replacement parts and equipment.
“Homeowners are finally willing to buy the right parts to
properly fix and replace their equipment instead of just trying to
keep it working for an extra six months,” said Tom Burba,
general manager of PoolCorp’s Mountain Division in Gilbert,
Meanwhile, despite a slight drop in housing starts in 2011, Perez
de la Mesa’s presentation forecasted an upward curve in
housing over the next several years, with a “return to normal
levels” at approximately 1 million projected for 2014.
“If you look out over the next five to seven years,
there’s a lot to be optimistic about,” Joslin
PoolCorp is the world’s largest distributor of pool and spa
products. Based in Covington, La., the firm trades under the stock