Appliance, Furniture Sales Continue to Outshine Retail

By Alan Wolf, YSN

Despite product shortages and higher prices for available goods, retail sales for appliance, CE and home furnishings dealers continued to soar in September.

According to the latest monthly sell-through data from the U.S. Census Bureau, year-over-year sales for appliance and CE retailers rose 17.3 percent last month, to about $7.6 billion. Furniture and home furnishings dealers also fared well, with September sales rising nearly 14 percent, to some $12.6 billion.

By comparison, sales for online-only and other consumer-direct retailers were up 10.5 percent, while total U.S. retail sales, excluding car dealers, gas stations and restaurants, rose 11 percent, the Census Bureau said.

The National Retail Federation (NRF), the world’s largest trade association for merchants, believes that dealers benefitted from COVID-19 concerns, as worries about the delta variant pushed consumer spending toward merchandise rather than services like travel, entertainment and dining out.

“Today’s retail sales data confirms the sheer power of the consumer to spend, and we expect this to continue,” said NRF president/CEO Matthew Shay. “Despite persistent challenges related to the global pandemic, supply chain and labor shortages, retailers and their partners have shown resilience and ingenuity in getting the workforce, goods and systems in place to serve their customers and the communities where they operate.”

To NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz, the positive September report points to a strong finish for the year. “Consumers still have a hyper-ability to spend thanks to wage and job gains and the household savings built up during the pandemic,” he observed.

Still, rising inflation and slower supply chains remain problematic. “Spending might have been higher if not for shortages of items consumers are eager to purchase,” Kleinhenz said.