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Big ticket stores post year-over-year sales gains in February PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael J. Knell   

OTTAWA (01 May 2012) - All three categories of big ticket home stores posted sales gains on a year-over-year basis in February, although they fell over the prior month, the latest figures from Statistics Canada reveal.

The federal bean counter preliminarily tagged furniture stores sales for February 2012 at $666.9 million, down 8.5% from the revised tally of $728.5 million for January. However, it's up 5.6% from the $650.1 million rung-up in February 2011.

For the year-to-date, furniture store sales were up 3.0% to $1.4 billion.

Home furnishings stores - which sell everything from floor covering to wall and window treatments, lamps, lighting and decorative accessories - had preliminary sales of $386.6 million in February. While that's 3.6% off the revised $401.2 million sold in January, it's a 2.6% gain over the $348.0 million sold in February 2011.

These merchants earned year-to-date sales of $787.9 million, a gain of 3.0% over the comparable period of 2011.

Electronics and appliance stores sales were preliminarily set at $966.6 million for February, tanking 8.5% from the revised tally of $1.06 billion sold in January. However, it's a modest 1.1% gain over the $956.0 million sold in February last year.

Year-to-date sales were flat at $2.02 billion.

Overall retail store sales gained 5.2% in February on a year-year basis, with categories such as clothing stores turning in strong performances. However, gas station sales were up 9.6% and automotive dealers were up 14.9%. However, more than one observer noted that if price increases are discounted, retail sales actually climbed less than 1%.

This prompted Douglas Porter, deputy chief economist at BMO Nesbitt Burns, to remark in a note to clients: "Retail sales have seen precisely no net growth since the start of the year. While confidence and jobs have firmed recently, the consumer is in a cautious frame of mind. High debt loads, high gas prices, and the prospect of higher interest rates suggest that caution will persist."

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