LOWE’S NOW THE LARGEST RETAILER
Business has been good the past couple of years for sales of major appliances. Data compiled for This Week In Consumer Electronics (TWICE), shows that the nation’s 50 largest white-goods (refrigerators, ranges, washers, dryers and etc.) retailers posted a cumulative 5% increase in major appliance sales in 2014—two percentage points ahead of the total industry and well ahead of the overall flat year for consumer electronics. That was slower than the 9% growth pace for 2013, as consumers finally started making major appliance purchases post-recession, but shows continued growth in the sector.
For the first time, TWICE notes, Lowe’s moved to the top of the list in major appliance sales last year, bumping the long-time #1 Sears to second place. The Home Depot continued in third place, followed by Best Buy and Sears Hometown Stores, which had been spun-off by Sears Holdings. Those top five saw their cumulative sales increase from $19 billion to $20 billion. That $1 billion gain was ten times the $100 million gain for numbers six through 10. By the way, Costco broke into the top 10 for the first time as its white-goods sales jumped 18%.
Home improvement centers accounted for 41.2% of top 50 sales, increasing their share by 1.2 percentage points. Appliance specialty stores dropped 5.4 points to 8.8% of sales. Meanwhile, multiregional consumer electronics and major appliance dealers, led by Best Buy and Fry’s, grew their collective share by 5.4 points to 9.8% of sales.
The biggest decline among the top 50 came at Target. TWICE said its major appliance sales were down 11.5% as the mass market retailer dealt with, among other things, management changes and the continuing fallout from its 2013 fourth-quarter credit card data hack. Besides Lowe’s, Best Buy and Costco, major gainers noted in the report included Amazon.com, Conn’s, Abt Electronics, Nebraska Furniture Mart, Menards and Pac Sales. The research for TWICE was done by The Stevenson Company.