U.S. furniture and home furnishings store sales increased 1.9% in May from the same month a year ago, one of the smallest gains of any retail sector and well below the 8.1% increase for the combined retail and food services sectors.
Furniture store sales for the month reached $12.18 billion, up from $11.95 billion a year ago, according to the Department of Commerce report released this morning. Sales decreased 0.9% from April sales, which were revised up to $12.29 billion, from the previously reported $12.17 billion.
The results suggest the consumer slowdown is affecting the home furnishings category more than most though the industry still appeared to be beating 2021 numbers as inflation and price increases pulled up revenues despite softening store traffic.
Combined retail and food services sales in May were $672.9 billion, up 8.1% from the same month a year ago but down 0.3% from April. Retail trade sales alone increased 6.9% YOY and were down 0.4% from April, the report said.
Most retail sectors posted YOY sales gains, but it’s clear inflation played its part. Gas stations, for instance, again led all sectors for a 43.2% YOY gain. Miscellaneous retail stores, which includes retailers such as florists, office supplies stores, gift shops and used goods sellers, had the next best increase, up 25.6% YOY. Restaurants and bars followed with a 17.5% gain.
The biggest losers have repeated now for a few months and, like furniture stores, are the other big-ticket retailers: electronics and appliance stores, down 4.5% YOY; auto and parts dealers, down 3.7%; and sporting goods, hobby, musical instrument and book stores, down 0.2%.
Nonstore retailers — which includes e-commerce and catalog companies — posted a 7.0% YOY increase and were down 1.0% from April.
For the three month period ending in May, furniture and home furnishings store sales increase1.4% from the same three months a year ago. All sectors combine saw a 7.7% increase. Non-store retailer sales increased 6.5% over the same three months last year.