Furniture remains off pace in September, but decline not as steep

Thomas Lester//Retail Editor//October 17, 2023

WASHINGTON — Furniture and home furnishings sales in September were nearly six points off the pace set in 2022, but the year-over-year decline was less severe than recent months, according to the Department of Commerce’s advance monthly estimates.

For the month, furniture and home furnishings recorded an estimated $10.998 billion in adjusted sales, down 5.9% compared with September 2022’s $11.69 billion. In August, furniture and home furnishings sales were off the year-over-year pace by 7.8% and missed the mark by 6.3% in July.

September was essentially flat compared with August’s adjusted $11.003 billion in sales. Year-to-date, the DOC says furniture and home furnishings sales are at $100.18 billion, down 4.4% compared with the same span in 2022.

The overall retail snapshot showed $704.881 billion in adjusted estimated sales in September, up 3.8% vs. $679.379 last year and 0.7% compared with $699.882 in August.

While furniture was off the 2022 pace, it wasn’t alone, as the building material, garden equipment and supplies dealers category was down 4% year-over-year. Other notable declines included gas stations (down 3.5%), electronics and appliance stores (down 2.2%) and sporting goods, hobby, musical instrument and book stores (down 2.1%).

Conversely, food services and drinking places (9.2%), non-store retailers (8.4%), health and personal care stores (8.3%) and motor vehicle and parts dealers (6.2%) all showed sharp year-over-year increases.

The DOC’s advance estimates are based on a sub-sample of the U.S. Census Bureau’s full retail and food services sample. A stratified random sampling method is used to select approximately 5,500 retail and food services firms whose sales are then weighted and benchmarked to represent the complete universe of more than 3 million retail and food services firms.

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