Home Goods Sales Growth Stalled in November: Feds

Appliance and CE sales declined from October but soared from 2020.

  • Electronics/appliance channel sales fell 4.6 percent from October
  • Furniture sales were flat month-over-month
  • But year-ago comparisons remain robust

By Alan Wolf, YSN

A combination of rapidly rising prices, supply chain interruptions, a COVID resurgence, and an earlier than ever holiday shopping season conspired to stymie retail sales growth in November.

After building a head of steam through most of 2021, retail sales gains, including those within the home goods channel, stalled during the critical “Black November” shopping period, according to the latest monthly estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Specifically, seasonally adjusted sales at appliance and electronics stores fell 4.6 percent from October and business at furniture and home furnishings stores was flat, as were retail sales across the board.

But the picture was markedly different from a year-over-year perspective, with seasonally unadjusted CE and appliance sell-through up 17.7 percent from November 2020 and furniture and home furnishings sales ahead 18.6 percent.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), the world’s largest retail trade association, the November-to-November comparisons were buoyed by an improving labor market and higher vaccination rates combined with retailers’ ongoing safety protocols, which encouraged increased store visits.

“Most shoppers have the income and savings to absorb higher prices driven by the pandemic and supply chain disruptions,” observed NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. “While seasonally adjusted numbers may make the results look modest, seasonal patterns have been significantly disrupted by the pandemic and unadjusted data shows November’s sales as calculated by NRF were actually the highest on record.”

The NRF believes combined November and December retail sales can still hit a record 11.5 percent growth over the 2020 holiday season, with more than 148 million Americans expected to complete their shopping lists on Dec. 18 — the last Saturday before Christmas.