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GLR furniture, mattress and appliance sales climb in Q1 as C.E. falters PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael J. Knell   
OTTAWA (22 May 2012) -  Consumer electronics are proving to be the sore spot for Statistics Canada's group of large retailers (GLR) as sales in that category continued to fall for both the month of March and the first quarter of 2012, according to the latest figures released by the federal bean counter. However, they posted better-than-average gains on their sales of indoor furniture, mattresses, major appliances and home furnishings.

The group's collective furniture sales furniture were preliminarily pegged at $248.2 million in March, a strong gain from the revised $230.1 million in February and 6.9% more than the $232.3 million sold in March 2011.

GLR furniture sales for the first quarter of 2012 totaled $753.9 million, up 4.6% from the $721.0 million rung for the January to March period last year.

Bedding was the GLR's star performer for both the month and the quarter. Mattress sales were estimated at $56.9 million, slightly higher than the revised tally of $55.5 million for February but up 12.9% from the $50.4 million sold in March 2011.

For the year-to-date ending March 31, mattress sales were $176.3 million compared to $153.7 million for the comparable period - a more than solid gain of 14.7%.

Major appliances also turned in a strong performance as sales in March were preliminarily tagged at $149.0 million, a substantial advance over the revised $121.3 million sold in February and 6.3% greater than the $140.2 million rung-up in March 2011.

Total major appliance sales in the first quarter were $399.9 million, a modest 0.5% uptick from the $397.7 million sold in the same period last year.

Home furnishings sales - which cover everything from floor covering to lamps and lighting, decorative accessories and wall art - totalled a preliminary $215.9 million in March, up from February's revised take of $191.3 million and 4.7% higher than the $206.2 million sold in March 2011.

Sales for the first quarter were $627.7 million, up 4.1% from the $602.9 million for the opening three months of 2011.

Whether they were caused by deflation, heightened competition or some other factor, the GLR's collective sales of consumer electronics fell drastically both for the month and the quarter.

For example, in the key television and audio/visual components sub-category, GLR sales fell 14.1% year-over-year in March to $194.3 million from $226.1 million, even though they had improved somewhat over the prior month's revised $177.2 million.

First quarter 2011 sales were $606.4 million, down 14.2% from $707.2 million for the comparable period.

Meanwhile, the group's combined sales of consumer electronics (including computers, cameras and other devises such as cell phones and video game players) were pegged at $476.7 million for the third month of the year. While that's an improvement over the revised count of $415.8 million in February, it's down 9.4% from the $525.8 million tallied in March 2011.

While the dollar volumes for the group are preliminary estimates, they are unadjusted for seasonality or other factors.

In addition to its monthly report on retail store sales and its quarterly report on retail sales by commodity, Statistics Canada also reports on sales by commodity for what is termed as its group of large retailers. These are companies that, for the most part, have stores across the country or are dominant players in their home province.

For the big ticket home category - including furniture, mattresses, home furnishings, appliances and consumer electronics - the group of large retailers includes: the Brick Group; the Sony Store; Leon's Furniture; InterTan Canada, operators of The Source; IKEA Canada; BMTC Group; and, Best Buy Canada, operators of Best Buy and Future Shop well as the Calgary-based, 27-unit CE specialist Visions Electronics, among others.

Several of this country's largest general merchandise store operators with active big ticket home goods sales are also included. Among these are: Hudson's Bay Company (HBC); Sears Canada; Wal-Mart Canada; and, Canadian Tire Corp., among others.

Editor's Note: In previous articles on Home Goods Online, we have reported sales of ‘household appliances' for the Group of Large Retailers. These included small kitchen appliances. Because of changes to Statistics Canada's reporting methods, HGO can now report sales of major appliances and mattresses on a monthly basis for these retailers.

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