• Clint Engel

Furniture store sales beat broader retail in May

4.4% increase is on top of a revised 4.5% increase in April

WASHINGTON — May sales for furniture and home furnishings retailers increased 4.4% from the same month last year, topping the 4.0% gain for the broad retail sector.

Furniture and home furnishings store sales totaled an estimated $9.55 billion in May, up from a revised $9.15 billion in May a year ago, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported. Sales were up 0.4% from the month before, based on an April sales estimate that was revised up to $9.51 billion.

From March through May, home furnishings store sales were up 4.8% from the same period last year. The April-to-April gain was revised up to 4.5%.

Total U.S. retail and food services sales increased 3.8% in May from May last year to $473.81 billion and were off 0.3%, from a preliminary April sales estimate. Retail sales alone increased 4.0% from a year ago, fueled by double-digit gains for non-store retailers and building material, garden and supplies stores. Overall retail sales were off 0.3% from April.

Non-store retailers — primarily e-commerce and catalog businesses — posted a 10.2% sales increase over May a year ago and were up 0.8% from revised April sales. Building material and garden and supplies store saw the best increase of any sub-sector — up 10.8% from May a year ago but were flat with April.

Department stores, a sub-category of general merchandise stores, again were in negative territory and one of the worst performers, down 3.7% from May 2016 and down 1.0% from April. Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores reported the weakest year-over-year results, with May sales down 4.7% from a year ago and off 0.6% from April.

Electronics and appliance store were the only other sector down from a year ago, with sales off 1.8% from May 2016 and down 2.8% from April.

Clint EngelClint Engel | Senior Retail Editor, Furniture Today
cengel@furnituretoday.com

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