February furniture store sales lag broad retail sector – Furniture Today

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WASHINGTON — Sales for furniture and home furnishings stores increased 3.3% in February from the same month a year ago, trailing the 4.3% increase for the broad retail sector, according to the latest government report.

Home furnishings store sales grew to $9.74 billion, up from a revised $9.43 billion in February 2017, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported Wednesday. Home furnishings store sales dipped 0.8% from sales in January.

The year-over-year February increase for furniture was around the middle of the pack among all sectors followed by the government. Non-store retailers — primarily e-commerce and catalog businesses — posted the greatest gain, up 10.1% from February a year ago. That was followed by gas stations with a 7.9% increase.

From December 2017 through February 2018, sales for furniture and home furnishings stores increased 5.1% from the same three-month period a year ago, the DOC said. It was the fifth greatest increase by sector, behind non-store retailers, gas stations, miscellaneous store retailers and building materials and garden equipment and supplies stores.

Total retail and food services sales increased 4.3% in February from February a year ago to $492 billion, and were down 0.1% from revised January sales. Retail sales alone increased 4.2% from a year ago and were down 0.1% from January.

Again, sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores was the only subcategory to post a year-over-year sales decline in February, down 3.5%. Department stores, a sub-category of general merchandise stores and a laggard in recent years posted flat February sales compared to a year ago, the second weakest performance by sector.

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