OTTAWA – Considering most stores were closed to walk-in traffic for as long as six to eight weeks across much of the country during the second quarter, brick-and-mortar furniture stores didn’t lose all that much ground in 2020, the latest figures from Statistics Canada seem to show.
In last week’s Monthly Retail Trade Survey – which measures only location-based or brick-and-mortar retail – the national bean counter estimated actual (not seasonally adjusted) furniture store sales at a preliminary $1.15 billion for December 2020. While this was 8% lower than the $1.26 billion rung-up in November, it was a 5.9% improvement from the $1.09 billion for December 2019.
Many observers attributed the month-over-month decline to emerging supply chain issues and forecast furniture stores are likely to suffer in the first quarter of 2021 until they are resolved.
It should also be noted that while the survey doesn’t measure sales by pure-play e-commerce specialists such as Article or GoodMorning.com, it does include e-commerce sales by brick-and-mortar furniture merchants.
For the calendar year 2020, furniture store sales were estimated at $11.65 billion, down 1.7% from the $11.83 billion for 2019.
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 $803.5 million in December. This was up 1.8% from November’s $745.7 million, giving further credence to the belief these merchants do a fairly brisk Holiday Season business.
It was also 15.2% higher than $697.8 million recorded for December 2019.
For the full year, home furnishing store sales were set at $6.45 billion, down 8.6% from the prior year’s $7.06 billion.
While there month-over-month sales fell in December, electronics and appliance stores performed comparatively well during the year of the pandemic. For the month, Statistics Canada pegged their actual and preliminary sales at $1.97 billion, off 2$ from the $2.0 billion for November 2019. But it was 8.4% higher than the $1.82 billion sold in December 2019.
For the year, electronic/appliance stores had total sales of $14.87 billion, up 8.3% from the $13.04 billion rung-up during 2019.