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Mattress sales continue to slide at retail, Statistics Canada figures show

 19 September 2011      

OTTAWA (20 September 2011) - Mattress sales at retail are still lagging behind their pre-recession highs, according to data published by Statistics Canada.

According to the federal bean counter, retail mattress sales were $1.68 billion in 2010, essentially unchanged from 2009 after falling 7% from the record-setting $1.79 billion rung-up in 2008, the last year before the recession's impact was felt.

For the majority of furniture store owners in this country, this means mattresses have been the least robust of the three major categories on their floor as sales of furniture and major appliances both recorded 2010 gains of 4% over the prior year.

However, furniture stores - which Statistics Canada defines Statistics Canada as retail establishments generating 51% or more of their annual sales from furniture and mattresses - continue to hang on to their market share despite the plethora of new retail channels of distribution now selling mattresses compared to just a decade ago.

An analysis of the Statistics Canada data suggests furniture stores - regardless of their size - held 89% of the market last year with sales valued at $1.49 billion. Admittedly, that's unchanged from 2009 and 5.7% less that 2008 when these merchants enjoyed sales of $1.58 billion.

There is one other retail group that Statistics Canada monitors - the Group of Large Retailers (GLR).  These are all merchants who either have stores across the country or a dominant in a single province or region. There other common characteristic is size - they all have sales in excess $100 million annually.

The GLR includes the Brick Group; Leon's Furniture; IKEA Canada; BMTC Group; as well as several of the department stores such as Sears Canada and The Bay as well as the discounters such as Wal-Mart and Costco.

These merchants do a sizeable business in mattresses - $778.2 million in 2010 alone, giving them a market share of 46%, which has remained fairly steady in recent years. As many of the GLR are included the figures for furniture stores, there is some overlap in market share.

While furniture is sold across a wide variety of retail channels, mattresses aren't as widely distributed. For example, even though Loblaws, Home Depot, Lowes and Canadian Tire all carry furniture, they don't offer mattresses. Very few of the discounters carry mattresses.  Costco carries mattresses in every one of its Canadian stores while Wal-Mart only does in select markets. Zellers, which will to become Target in 2013, is also a non-player in the mattress segment.

Unfortunately, Statistics Canada does not track mattress specialty stores.

2011 update

This year started off badly for mattress sales at retail. Overall sales for the first quarter of 2011, the latest period for which reliable figures are available, were $323.8 million - a 7% drop from the $349.3 million sold in the January to March period of 2010.

It should be noted that in the first quarter of 2008, mattress sales totaled $385.4 million at retail.

Furniture stores held on to their market share but sales fell 8% to $281.8 million.  However, the group of large retailers only suffered a minor 1% setback with sales of $161.8 million.  This suggests the national players retained most of their business with independent retailers taking the brunt of the downturn.


Stearns and Foster
Sealy Canada
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