Furniture and home furnishings store sales rebounded in March, but continued to lag the gains of the broad retail sector.
Sales in the home furnishings store category increased 1.1% to $10.18 billion, from a revised $10.07 billion for March a year ago, according the latest report by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The increase followed three consecutive months of declines for the furniture store sector.
March furniture and home furnishings store sales were up 1.7% from February sales, which were revised up to a preliminary $10.01 billion from the previous $9.82 billion estimate.
March sales for all U.S. retail and food services industries increased 3.6% from a year ago to $514.1 billion, and were up 1.6% from February. Retail trade sales increased 3.5% from March a year ago and 1.7% from the previous month.
While furniture stores trailed the broad sector, a few subsectors did worse, including four that posted negative numbers. Sales for sporting goods, hobby, musical instrument and book stores once again posted the biggest year-over-year decline, down 9.7% from March 2018. Department stores, a subcategory of general merchandise stores, saw the next largest decline, down 3.7%, while electronics and appliances stores posted a 2.7% decrease.
Non-store retailers, which include e-commerce and mail order catalog businesses, saw the biggest increase in sales, up 11.6% from March a year ago.
For the first quarter of 2019, furniture and home furnishings store sales were flat with the first quarter of last year, according to the report. Total retail and food services sales increased 2.9%, and retail sales were up 2.7%.
Non-store retailers posted the greatest year-over-year increase for the quarter, up 11.2%.
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