June Sales Slump for Electronics and Appliance Retailers

By Alan Wolf

The U.S. Census Bureau reported a challenging June for electronics and appliance specialty stores.

According to the agency’s latest monthly retail sales estimates, sell-through for tech and appliance retailers fell 5 percent year-over-year, to $8.1 billion, and were essentially flat from last May.

Furniture and home furnishings dealers fared better, with June sales inching up 0.8 percent from last year to more than $9.8 billion, and ahead 0.5 percent from May.

In contrast, direct-selling retailers, including online-only and TV broadcast sellers, enjoyed a stellar June. Sales shot up 13.4 percent year-over-year to $64.7 billion last month, compared to a 1.7 percent increase in May.

Direct-sell merchants may have benefitted from the grads-and-dads gift-giving season, while appliance shoppers – well familiar with the cadence of promotional events – may have put off their purchases until the Independence Day sales period. The Census Bureau lumps appliance merchants together with electronics specialty stores, making a read on white-goods sell-through difficult.

The electronics/appliance slump aside, total U.S. retail sales, including gas stations and automotive but excluding restaurants and other food services, rose 3.3 percent in June, to $455.4 billion, exceeding analyst forecasts. “These are impressive results showing that the consumer remains engaged and that consumer spending gave a boost to the economy in the second quarter,” said Jack Kleinhenz, Chief Economist for the National Retail Federation (NRF), the world’s largest retail trade association. “The numbers are consistent with elevated consumer sentiment, healthy household balance sheets, low inflation and wage and job gains.”

Nevertheless, Kleinhenz cautioned that although the prospect of tariff-related price hikes has lessened for the time being, “Trade uncertainties continue to weigh on the long-term outlook.”

The Census Bureau’s monthly sales estimates are based on responses from approximately 5,500 retailers. Sales figures are adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading day differences but not for price changes, the agency said.

YSN is published by BrandSource parent company AVB Inc.