Falling slightly below October levels, furniture sales continued its year-over-year climb in November, up for the month for the fourth month in a row.
Bringing in a total of $10.3 billion this month according advance estimates from the Department of Commerce’s monthly report on retail sales, furniture and home furnishings store sales were down 1.1% from October’s adjusted $10.4 billion total, not changed from last month’s report, and up 3.6% from November 2019. For the three month period of September-November, totals were up 10.3% year-over-year and down 0.8% when compared with June-August of this year.
The slight dip in furniture and home furnishings sales in November from October could be attributed to consumer holiday shopping trends. Normally taking place during the day of and week around November’s Black Friday retail holiday, research has indicated that many people opted not to shop traditional retail holidays this year out of concern over coronavirus safety in crowded stores, and many retailers obliged those concerns by elongating holiday sales into the months before and after those holidays.
The year-over-year growth may reflect ongoing consumer demand in the category and interest in home-related projects, also seen in building material and gardening equipment’s double-digit growth from 2019.
Overall, furniture and home furnishings store sales reflected a seemingly larger retail trend with U.S. retail and food services sales coming in for November at $546.5 billion, dipping 1.1% from the previous month and rising 4.1% which from last year. Retail trade sales alone also fell into the same pattern, up 7.1% from last November but down 0.8% from October 2020.
Looking more closely at other sectors, only four categories and subcategories saw a rise month-over-month for November, with grocery stores, a subset of food a beverage stores, up the most at a 1.9% increase for the month. Clothing and clothing accessories stores saw the largest drop from October at a 6.8% decrease followed by food services and drinking places and electronics and appliance stores, down 4% and 3.5%, respectively.
Year-over-year, non-store retailers saw the largest jump in sales, up 29.2%. Sporting goods, hobby, musical instrument and book stores came in second, up 19.6%, and building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers followed closely behind in third at 18.7%.
Some sectors saw big losses year-over-year despite the larger trend though. Department stores, a subset of general merchandise stores, fell 19% from November 2019, and food services and drinking places dropped 17.2%. Just behind that, gasoline stations dipped 17.1% year-over-year.
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.