• Clint Engel

Retail furniture sales up 3.8% in April

WASHINGTON — April sales for furniture and home furnishings retailers jumped 3.8% from the same month last year, lagging behind the 4.5% gain for the broader retail sector.

Sales at furniture and home furnishings stores totaled an estimated $9.46 billion in April, up from a revised $9.12 billion in April 2016, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported. Sales were down 0.5% from the month before, based on a revised-up March sales estimate of $9.52 billion.

Total U.S. retail and food services sales increased 4.5% from April a year ago to $474.9 billion and were up 0.4%, from a preliminary March sales estimate. Retail sales alone increased 4.5% from a year ago, powered by double-digit gains for non-store retailers and gasoline stations, and a 9.3% sales increase for building material, garden and supplies stores. Overall retail sales were up 0.4% from March.

Non-store retailers — primarily e-commerce and catalog businesses — saw an 11.9% sales increase over April a year ago, and were up 1.4% from revised March numbers.

Department stores, a sub-category of general merchandise stores, continued to lose the most ground of any subcategory, as April sales dipped 3.7% from April a year ago, but sales were up 0.2% from the month before. On a year-over-year basis, department stores have posted the worst declines of any sector for seven out of the past eight months.

Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores had the next largest percentage decrease, down 2.4% from April last year, while general merchandise stores — the sector under which department stores fall — saw a 0.7% decrease.

All other sectors saw increases over April last year.

Clint EngelClint Engel | Senior Retail Editor, Furniture Today

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