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Furniture store sales up 20% in November

 25 January 2021     Michael J. Knell 

OTTAWA – All three categories of brick-and-mortar home goods stores recorded solid sales growth on a month-over-basis in November 2020, according to the latest figures from Statistics Canada, However, thanks to the drag caused earlier n the year by government-imposed closures to fight the pandemic, the year-to-date lagged behind 2019 for both furniture and home furnishing stores.

It should be noted Statistics Canada’s Monthly Retail Survey only covers brick-and-mortar, or location-based retail in its parlance. This study doesn’t sales by pure-play, direct-to-consumers merchants such as Article or although it does include e-commerce revenues from retailers such as Leon’s, The Brick, Sleep Country and IKEA Canada.

For the month of November 2020, the federal bean counter estimated actual sales by furniture stores at a preliminary $1.26 billion, up 2.4% from the $1.23 billion rung-up in October and 20.1% higher than the $1.05 billion for November 2019.

For the year-to-date, furniture store sales totaled $10.54 billion, off 2.1% from the $10.77 billion recorded for the same period the prior year. Most furniture stores – indeed, most brick-and-mortar retailers of every kind – were closed to fight the spread of COVID-19 from mid-March until early June across much of the country.

Meanwhile, sales by brick-and-mortar home furnishings stores – which sell everything from floor covering to lamps and lighting, decorative accessories and accent furniture – had preliminary and actual sales of $745.7 million in November, up 13.9% from the $654.7 million in October. It’s also 10.9% higher than the $672.4 million rung-up in November 2019.

For the year-to-date, sales were off 11.7% at $5.62 billion – compared to $6.36 billion for the year ago period.

Electronics and appliance stores had actual and preliminary sales of just under $2.0 billion for November, a leap of 53.6% from the $1.30 billion recorded for October. It’s also 23.3% higher than the $1.62 billion for November 2019.

Unlike furniture and home furnishing stores, electronics and appliance stores didn’t record a year-to-date decline, even though their brick-and-mortar stores were also closed to fight the pandemic. Most analysts attribute this to their comparatively stronger e-commerce capabilities. For the January to November period of 2020, these merchants had sales of $12.9 billion – up 8.5% from the prior year’s $11.9 billion.

It should be noted that all three groups of home goods retailers outperformed retailers in almost every other category by a considerable margin in November, which observers attributed to consumer desire to renovate and decorate in advance of the Holiday Season. For example, Statistics Canada reported sales for all location-based retail advanced just 4% in the month. Removing automotive from the equation gave these merchants a 9% advance for the month.

There is no data available on November sales for the pure-play e-commerce retailers operating in this country, although most observers agree they are the fastest growing segment of the market.

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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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