• Andrea Lillo

Sales driver: Home furnishings lift retail in November

Consumers were thinking home for the holidays last month, as furniture and home furnishings stores led the retail trade and food services categories with sales gains of 2.3 percent for the month of November, reaching a total of $8.2 billion, according to the Commerce Department.

But store-based retailers were not the only ones reaping the positive shopping gains. Non-store retailers placed second, jumping 1.7 percent to $13.7 billion.

However, most of the categories had either small gains or negative numbers for the month, so overall retail sales, excluding restaurants and bars, only stepped up 0.4 percent from October, to a seasonally adjusted total of $302.5 billion.

And similar to last month, eight of the retail categories Home Textiles Today tracks monthly reported sales gains, and four posted losses, though some categories switched sides this month.

Some of the home goods categories that had positive performances for November include building materials and garden supplies, which grew 1.2 percent, while electronics and appliances were up 0.9 percent.

The lagging auto business was virtually flat for the month, dropping a scanty 0.1 percent, for a total of $71.2 billion.

After posting a positive number in October, department stores sector swung back in the opposite direction for a 1.4 percent decrease, to $18.7 billion (not including leased departments).

Apparel, which also performed better in the previous month, took another dive downward, sliding 1.3 percent for November.

Retail sales in November (by channel)

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce
Furniture & home furnishings +2.3
Non-store retailers +1.7
Building materials & garden supplies +1.2
Electronics & appliances +0.9
Food & beverage stores +0.9
Gas stations +0.4
Health & personal care +0.3
Department stores & discounters -1.4
Clothing & accessories -1.3
Sporting goods, hobby, books and music -0.5
Car dealers -0.1

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See the May 2017 issue of Home & Textiles Today. In this issue, we discuss our annual Market Basket survey, which finds higher prices and more polyester at leading retailers. See details!