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Furniture, home furnishings stores recover April sales losses in May, StatCan reports PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael J. Knell   

OTTAWA (31 July 2012) - Both furniture and home furnishings stores reversed the declines suffered in April to make May their best sales month to date in 2012, according to the latest figures published by Statistics Canada. While electronics and appliance stores also bounced back, their sales for the month still sagged behind their high water mark which was established in January.

The federal bean counter pegged actual (not seasonally adjusted) furniture store sales at a preliminary $798.3 million for the month of May, 9.6% ahead of April's revised $728.2 million but only a marginal 1.7% gain over the $785.1 million rung-up in May 2011.

Furniture store sales for the year-to-date ending May 30 were $3.67 billion, a like-wise marginal gain of 1.3%.

Home furnishings stores - which sell everything from floor covering to lamps and lighting, decorative accessories and wall art - also recovered from April's, albeit smaller, decline as sales reached a preliminary $455.9 million in May, a 6.9% gain over the prior month's revised $426.5 million. May sales were the highest single-month tally in 2012 to date and were up 1.8% over the $448.0 million sold in same month last year.

Year-to-date sales were $2.11 billion, a gain of 2.8% over the same period last year.

May sales for electronics and appliance stores were tagged at a preliminary and actual $1.02 billion, which while a respectable 4.8% recovery from April's revised $977.1 million, is still 7.5% lower that than $1.11 million sold in May 2011. It's also well down from the $1.06 billion sold in January.

For the year-to-date, white and brown goods merchants had sales of $5.13 billion, off 4.0% from the first five months of last year.

Despite their gains, big ticket stores continued to underperform total local-based retail in May, which saw sales climb 6.5% to $42.6 billion. All stores less automotive had gains of 5.6% to $26.6 billion. While auto dealers saw gains of 12.0%, there were several other categories turning in strong performance including food and beverage stores at 6.9% and building and garden supply stores, which had a monthly gain of 6.5%.

For the year-to-date, local-based retail had gains of 4.4% to $182.8 billion. All stores, less auto, had gains of 2.8% to $115.8 billion. The top performers include auto dealer at 9.4%, clothing stores at 7.4% and building supply stores at 4.6%.

However, analysts didn't seem to see a silver lining in the retail cloud. Douglas Porter, deputy chief economist for BMO Financial Group, said in a note to clients that while the overall bump seen in May was more than welcome, "the three month trend is feeble."

He pointed out that for the big ticket categories, store sales have fallen at an annualized rate of 4.0% over the past three months and 3.6% over the past 12 months.

"Indeed, Canada retail sales have seen precisely no growth since the start of 2012, with households constrained by so-so income growth, rising taxes (in some provinces) and a hefty debt loads," he pointed out, adding, "With these factors likely to persist, consumer confidence uncertain and with the added drain of cross-border shopping, it's tough to see retail sales gathering much momentum through the second half of the year."

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Ross Fraser, president (right) and co-founder Carol Alfieri are seen here inside ITEM, their new venture in the Griffintown district of Montreal. This 10,000 square foot space is described as an urban lifestyle store that will “surprise, excite and inspire these who seek to rejuvenate and personalise their interiors” with an eclectic mix of furniture, accessories and other products for both home and self. Click here for our report.


 

 

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