Furniture sales weaker in strong October for retail

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WASHINGTON — Furniture and home furnishings sales were up slightly in October, but it was one of the weaker performing categories according to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s advance monthly estimates for retail sales.

Furniture and home furnishings sales came in at $12.153 billion in October, up 0.4% from September’s $12.109 billion. Year-over-year, the category grew 11.9% from October 2020’s $10.864 billion. The three-month span that includes August, September and October was up 0.2% compared with the three-month span from May to July.

While furniture and home furnishings numbers were soft, the overall retail picture was much firmer. The DOC reported that the entire retail segment posted $638.189 billion in the month, a 1.7% jump from $627.536 billion in September. Year-over-year, the total retail picture was up 16.3% from October 2020’s $548.676 billion.

Numerous categories sparked the strong month, posting numbers that exceeded the overall increase. Nonstore retailers led the way with a 4% increase, while gas stations (3.9%), electronics and appliance stores (3.8%) and building material, garden equipment and supplies dealers and miscellaneous store retailers (2.8% each) were among the notable gainers.

Clothing and clothing accessories stores (down 0.7%) and health and personal care stores (down 0.6%) were the only categories whose performance slipped from one month to the next.

The DOC’s advance estimates are based on a sub-sample of the U.S. Census Bureau’s full retail and food services sample. A stratified random sampling method is used to select approximately 5,500 retail and food services firms whose sales are then weighted and benchmarked to represent the complete universe of more than 3 million retail and food services firms.

Thomas Lester is Retail Editor for Furniture Today and Digital/Managing Editor for Home Accents Today. A graduate of Emory & Henry College’s Mass Communications program, Lester spent a dozen years working for newspapers in Virginia and North Carolina covering an array of subjects, ranging from community news, government, education, ACC sports, professional baseball and more before joining Home Accents Today in 2013. Reach out to me with your story ideas, tips and more at [email protected].



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