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Home goods store sales climb in October: Statistics Canada

 11 January 2021     Michael J. Knell 

OTTAWA – Furniture, home furnishings and electronics/appliance stores kicked off the fourth quarter of 2020 with a bang, recording upticks in sales for the month of October according to the latest figures from Statistics Canada. All three saw improvements over September as well over the same month of 2019.

It should be noted this report covers sales by brick-and-mortar store operators and excludes pure e-commerce merchants such as Article, Good and others.

The federal bean counter set sales by brick-and-mortar furniture stores at an actual and preliminary $1.23 billion in October, some 2.8% ahead of the $1.19 billion rung-up in September and a huge 24.9% leap from the $981.8 million for October 2019. It was the fourth consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

However, thanks mainly to closures ordered by various provincial governments across the country as part of the fight to stem the COVID-19 pandemic throughout April, May and into early June, furniture store sales for the ten months ending in October were $9.27 billion, down 4.6% from the $9.72 billion for the same period the year prior.

Ed Strapagiel, the Toronto-based retail consultant, noted furniture store sales for the three months ending in October were up 14.1% but were down 3.5% for the trailing 12 months at $11.4 billion.

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 $654.6 million, up 7.4% from the prior month’s $609.4 million and 9.6% greater than the $597.2 million sold in October 2019.

For year-to-date, home furnishing store sales totalled $4.88 billion, off 14.3% from last year’s $5.69 billion. Once again, much of the decline has been attributed to COVID-19 closures imposed throughout much of the second quarter of the year.

The performance of these retailers wasn’t as strong as that of furniture stores as their sales for the three months ending in October were up a comparatively modest 4.5%. But for the trailing 12 months, they were down 11.7% at $6.2 billion.

Unlike furniture and home furnishings stores, electronic/appliance store sales took a step back in October at $1.30 billion, down 1.5% from $1.32 billion in September. However, it was 17.2% higher than the $1.11 billion rung-up in October 2019.

For the first ten months ending October, electronic/appliance store sales totalled $10.9 billion, up 5.9% from the $10.3 billion for the comparative 2019 period.

For the three months ending October, these merchants enjoyed an uptick in sales of 13.9% and for the trailing 12 months, their performance was a more modest 2.4% at $14.3 billion. Most observers believe electronic/appliance stores did comparatively better during the second quarter retail shutdown than their furniture and home furnishings counterparts because of their greater adoption of e-commerce.

All three members of the home goods sector were among the top performers across all location-based retail in Canada throughout most of 2019. The uptick has been attributed to many factors, including the increased popularity of working from home as well as a noticed consumer shift in spending priorities. Since consumers can’t travel, go to restaurants or engage in similar activities, they are spending the money they have improving their home environment.

Stearns & Foster
Sealy 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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