Year-over year furniture store sales fall 8.4% in April

Representing the 14th month of declines in a row, the sector continues to lag other major retail segments tracked by the US government

WASHINGTON — Year-over-year furniture store sales fell 8.4% in April, marking the 14th month in a row that the sector has seen a decline, according to government figures released Wednesday.

Furniture stores also were the weakest performing sector on the list tracked by the U.S. Department of Commerce, along with decreases cited for sporting goods, hobby, musical instrument and bookstores; building materials and garden equipment and supply dealers; and health and beauty stores.

Overall, April retail sales totaled $705.2 billion, up 3% from $684.4 billion in April 2023 and unchanged from March. Furniture store sales, by comparison, were down 8.4% in April to $10.67 billion, from $11.7 billion in April 2023 and down .5% from $10.72 billion in March.

Sales at sporting goods, hobby, musical instrument and bookstores fell 4.7% to $8.2 billion, from $8.6 billion in April last year, and sales at building materials and garden equipment and supply dealers were down 1% to $40.7 billion, from $41.1 billion. Health and beauty store sales were down .3% to $36 billion from $36.1 billion in April 2023.

All other segments saw year-over-year increases including nonstore retailers such as e-commerce resources and catalogs, which reported April sales of $119.3 billion, up from $111 billion last year, a 7.5% increase. Sales at miscellaneous store retailers, such as pet stores, florists and religious supply stores, were up 6.8% to $15.4 billion, from $14.4 billion, while restaurants and bars were up 5.5% to $93.9 billion, from $89 billion last year.

Other segments that reported increases included gasoline stations (up 4% to $56.2 billion, from $54.1 billion); general merchandise stores, which include department stores (up 3.7% to $75.9 billion, from $73.1 billion); clothing and clothing accessories stores (up 2.7% to $25.8 billion, from $25.2 billion); food and beverage stores (up 2.2% to $83 billion, from $81.2 billion); motor vehicle and parts dealers (up .8% to $132.3 billion, from $131.2 billion); and electronics and appliance stores (also up .8% to $7.7 billion, from $7.6 billion).

Motor vehicle and parts dealers, which includes auto sales, was by far the largest retail sector for consumer spending ($132.3 billion), according to the report. It was followed by nonstore retailers ($119.3 billion), restaurants and bars ($93.9 billion), food and beverage stores ($83 billion) and general merchandise stores ($75.9 billion).

In terms of total spending, furniture stores ranked at No. 11 of the 13 major sectors identified in the report with $10.7 billion in sales, ranking only above electronics and appliance stores at $7.7 billion, and sporting goods, hobby, musical instrument and bookstores at $8.2 billion.

However, at $10.7 billion for the month of April, furniture store sales were still above pre-pandemic levels of around $10 billion in April 2019 and April 2018, $9.4 billion in April 2017, $9.2 billion in 2016, $8.9 billion in April 2015 and $8.4 billion in April 2014.

Thomas Russell

Home News Now Editor-in-Chief Thomas Russell has covered the furniture industry for 25 years at various daily and weekly consumer and trade publications. He can be reached at and at 336-508-4616.

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