WASHINGTON — Furniture and home furnishings store sales were remarkably flat for the month of July, with the category posting virtually no increase over the month of June and only a 0.8% decrease year-over-year.
In total, furniture and home furnishings store sales earned a projected $9.82 billion in the month of July. June’s adjusted $9.82 billion total is down from a previously reported $9.58 billion total for the month, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce report released today.
In furniture home furnishings, several factors that could have kept the sector from increasing significantly in July, including a slower July Fourth holiday that, for many retailers, revolved around safety rather than large-scale crowds. That, paired with ongoing COVID-19 safety concerns, the reinstatement of quarantine orders in parts of the U.S. and issues with keeping product in stock at retailers, made selling more difficult than it would have been in years previous.
Overall, advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for July 2020 were relatively flat, too. Initial results say that overall sales hit $536 billion, an increase of 1.2% from the previous month and 2.7% year-over-year. Retail trade sales were also up overall, sitting 0.8% over June and 5.8% over July 2019.
Looking at individual sectors, month-to-month changes were also comparatively flat for many categories. The highest change from June to July was electronics and appliance stores, which saw a staggering 22.9% increase, and stood as an outlier in this month’s totals. The second highest increase between the months were seen in the gasoline station and miscellaneous store retailer sectors, which both had total increases of 6.2%, a steep step down from electronics and appliance stores.
Similarly, sporting goods, hobby, musical instrument and book stores saw the largest decrease month-over-month, losing 5% in total in July, followed by building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers, down 2.9%. Motor vehicles and parts dealers saw the third highest decrease, totaling up a 1.2% loss.
Year-over-year, sales totals were more varied. Clothing and clothing accessories lost the most, posting a 20.9% decrease, followed by food services and drinking places, down 18.9%, and department stores, a subset of general merchandise stores, which posted a loss of 13.4% despite the general merchandise stores sector posting an overall increase of 1.1%.
Highest on the opposite end of the year-over-year totals was non-store retailers, up 24.7% from July 2019. Non-store retailers have earned the top spot in year-over-year increases four months in a row. Coming in second was sporting goods, hobby, musical instrument and book stores, up 17.8%, followed by building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers, which rose 14.8%.
Looking year-over-year at the three-month period of May through July, sporting goods, hobby, musical instrument and book stores took a huge lead, with sales totals raising 42.5%, followed by non-store retailers, up 26.1%, and building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers, up 17.5%.
Clothing and clothing accessories stores saw the steepest decline at 35.7%. Furniture and home furnishings had the sixth highest drop, falling 9.7% year-over-year for May through July.