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Furniture store sales climb 13.6% in first quarter: Statistics Canada

 6 June 2022     Michael J. Knell 

OTTAWA – Brick-and-mortar furniture store sales regained ended the first quarter of 2022 on a high note, with March sales up over the previous month although they fell slightly when compared to the same month last year, according to the latest figures from Statistics Canada’s Monthly Retail Trade Survey (MRTS).

The national bean counter set preliminary and actual furniture store sales for March 2022 at $1.17 billion, up 27.8% from the $917.9 million rung-up for February. However, sales were off 1.1% from the $1.19 billion sold in March 2021.

It should be noted the MRTS tracks only sales made by what they refer to as ‘location based’ retail – brick-and-mortar stores. These figures do not include sales by the online only furniture purveyors such as Rove Concepts or Article. But, adding to the confusion, they do include e-commerce sales by predominately brick-and-mortar merchants such as Brault & Martineau, Leon’s, The Brick and Sleep Country.

Furniture store sales in the first quarter of 2022 climbed 13.6% on a year-over-year basis, according to the latest figures from Statistics Canada. This category of ‘location-based’ retail includes Dufresne Furniture & Appliances (seen here is its store on Ellice Ave in Winnipeg).The strong performance pushed the furniture store segment into the plus column for the first three months of 2022. Year-to-date revenue totaled $3.19 billion, up 13.6% from the $2.81 billion for the same period last year.

This would give this country’s largest full-line furniture retailer – Leon’s Furniture Limited (LFL) – a market share of 20.8% for the first quarter of the year with system-wide revenues (including its franchise network) of $662.9 million. This is down from 24.8% for the first quarter of last year.

Meanwhile, home furnishings stores – a catchall that includes flooring specialists, lighting stores as well as merchants focusing on accent, occasional furniture and decorative accessories – turned in a second consecutive month of growing sales in March following the expected downturn following the Holiday Season.

The merchants had preliminary and actual sales of $732.9 million in March, up 31.5% over the $558.4 million for February and 7.6% higher than the $681.2 million recorded for March 2021.

For the year-to-date, home furnishing store sales totaled $1.88 billion, up 12.1% from last year’s $1.68 billion.

The third member of the big-ticket home goods segment experienced slightly more mixed performance during the first quarter of 2022. Electronics and appliance stores rung-up actual and preliminary sales of $1.25 billion in March 2022. While that’s 17.6% higher than the $1.03 sold in February, it’s a 0.8% slip from the $1.26 billion rung-up in March 2021.

For the first quarter, sales were $3.33 billion, a 0.6% gain from the $3.31 billion a year ago.

Figures published in the MRTS review retail was a very mixed bag during the first quarter of 2022, as all location-based retail showed an overall growth rate of 4.2%. But much of that was driven by gasoline stations as the price per litre reached record heights during the first 90 days of the year.

In her research note, Rishi Sondhi of TD Economics suggests retailers should see at least some growth over the coming months.

“We think consumer spending will hold up reasonably well in the second quarter, reflecting the lingering tailwind of easing public health restrictions, significant pent-up demand, and a healthy labour market,” she said.

“However, higher prices and interest rates will begin to weigh on household budgets in the second half of the year, prompting consumers to tighten their purse strings,” she cautioned, adding, “Retail sales may also see some weakening as consumption continues to shift away from goods and toward services, such as travel and hospitality. Indeed, recent earnings reports from large retailers reflect some anticipated softness ahead due to inflation pressures and a substitution to services spending.” 

Related Story:  LFL sees Q1 sales, earning decline

Related Story: SCC sets sales, earnings record for first quarter

Related Story: BMTC sees 26% sales hike for last fiscal year

Stearns & Foster
TempurPedic Canada
This HGO article was written by:
Michael J. Knell
Michael J. Knell

Michael is the publisher and editor of Home Goods Online. A seasoned business journalist, he has researched and written about the furniture, mattress and major appliance industries in both Canada and the United States for the past three decades.

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Home Goods and its accompanying newsletter - HGO This Week - covers the furniture, bedding, appliances, consumer electronics, accessories, lamps and lighting and floor coverings product sectors of the big ticket home goods market in Canada. HGO is also a forum for the dissemination of market research and hard-hitting articles on best practices for Canadian retailers.

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