Appliance, Furniture and Tech Dealers Lead the Retail Pack

By Alan Wolf, YSN

The shopping frenzy for home goods continued in July, when appliance, home furnishings and consumer tech dealers posted strong double-digit sales gains.

According to the latest monthly sales data from the U.S. Census Bureau, appliance and CE retailers enjoyed a year-over-year spike in revenue of 23.4 percent last month, second only to clothing stores.

Furniture and home furnishings stores weren’t far behind, with July sales rising 15.6 percent from the year-ago period, on par with the total retail marketplace.

By comparison, the building supply channel edged up 5.3 percent last month, and online and other direct-to-consumer sellers only saw a modest 3.7 percent increase.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), the world’s largest retail trade association, the gains enjoyed by appliance, tech and furniture dealers were the exception rather than the rule, as consumers shifted some spending from goods to activities like travel and meals out.

Retail sales were also dampened by continuing supply chain disruptions, unfilled job openings and the health challenges of COVID-19’s delta variant, the trade group said. Nonetheless, “We remain optimistic that the strength of the American consumer and ingenuity of the retail industry will produce continued growth heading into the fall,” said NRF president/CEO Matthew Shay.

“Shopping continues,” added NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. “The consumer has continued to be resilient and recent price increases brought on by constraints in the supply chain have not dampened the robust demand seen during the past year.”

“If retailers could find more inventory,” he added, “they could sell it.”