WASHINGTON – Furniture and home furnishings store sales finally broke its five-month slump in August, posting year-over-year and month-over-month increases of 3.8% and 2.1%, respectively.
In total, furniture and home furnishings store sales earned a projected $10.23 billion in the month of August. July’s adjusted $10.02 billion total is up from a previously reported $9.82 billion total for the month, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce report released today.
In furniture home furnishings, several factors could have kept the sector from increasing significantly in August, including a lack of major retail holidays that would have helped drive customers to stores. Additionally, ongoing COVID-19 safety concerns, issues with keeping product in stock at retailers and an increased focus on the upcoming election cycle all made selling more difficult, much like in July, which saw similarly flat numbers.
Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for August 2020 were comparable to July’s relatively flat results, too. Initial results say that overall sales hit $537.53 billion, an increase of 0.6% from the previous month and 2.6% year-over-year. Retail trade sales were up 0.1% percent from the previous month, and 5.1% above the same month last year for a total of $482.88 billion.
In individual sectors, month-over-month changes were relatively flat, with more than 15 sectors and subsects posting less than a 2% increase or decrease from July. The highest increases included food services and drinking places, up 4.7%, followed by clothing and clothing accessories and furniture and home furnishings stores, at a 2.9% and 2.1% increase, respectively. Sporting goods, hobby, musical instrument and book stores lost the most, posting a 5.7% decrease, followed department stores, a subset of general merchandise stores, which posted a loss of 2.3%, and grocery stores, a subset of food a beverage stores, down 1.6%.
Year-over-year, losses and gains were much higher stake. Non-store retailers reclaimed its spot at the top, posting a 22.4% gain in August, and building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers moved up from third with a 15.4% increase. The sporting goods, hobby, musical instrument and book stores segment, though it lost the most month-over-month, posted the third highest gains year-over-year with an 11.1% increase.
Taking the biggest loss year-over-year was clothing and clothing accessories stores, down 20.4%. Gasoline stations and food services and drinking places tied for second, both dropping 15.4% in August.
Looking at the three-month period of June to August 2020, total sales were up 2.4% year-over-year, with non-store retailers posting the largest gains in the individual sectors with a 23.2% increase followed by building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers and sporting goods, hobby, musical instrument and book stores, both up 16.8%. Year-over-year, food services and drinking places had the largest loss, dropping 19%. Gasoline stations followed just behind with a loss of 17.2%, as well as department stores, a subset of general merchandise stores, which dropped 16.4% over the period.
Furniture and home furnishing store sales remained relatively flat for the three-month period year-over-year, posting only a 1.8% gain, but was up 58.3% from the March-May 2020 period.