May furniture store sales fall 6.8% from May 2023

Sector remains the worst performing of retail segments tracked by the government as consumers continue to pull back spending on some big-ticket purchases

WASHINGTON — Year-over-year furniture store sales fell 6.8% in May, representing a decrease from the 8.4% decline in April that many are hoping leads to growth in the second half.

According to figures released by the U.S. Department of Commerce Tuesday, furniture retail sales for the month of May totaled $10.7 billion, compared to $11.5 billion in May 2023 and $10.8 billion in April, a 1.1% decrease.

Overall retail sales were up 2.3% for the month, totaling $703.1 billion, compared to $687.5 billion in May 2023 and $702.5 billion in April, up .1%.

As has been the trend in recent months, furniture stores were the worst performing in terms of year-over-year sales activity among the major retail sectors tracked by the government.

The only other sectors with declines included building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers, down 4.3% to $40 billion, from $41.8 billion; sporting goods, hobby, musical instrument and bookstores, down 2.6% to $8.3 billion, from $8.6 billion; and health and personal care stores, down .7% to $36.1 billion, from $36.4 billion.

All other sectors posted an increase, showing some areas of the economy where consumers are increasing or shifting their spending.  

Miscellaneous store retailers, such as pet supply stores, religious supply stores and florists, were up 7.3% to, $15.3 billion, from $14.3 billion, while non-store retailers, including e-commerce portals and catalogs, were up 6.8%, to $118.6 billion, from $111.9 billion. Restaurant and bar sales were up 3.8% in May, while general merchandise stores, including department stores, were up 2.7% to $93.6 billion, from $90.2 billion.  

Other areas that had sales increases included clothing and clothing accessories stores, up 2.4% to $26 billion, from $25.4 billion; electronics and appliance stores, up 1.8% to $7.8 billion, from $7.7 billion; gasoline stations, up 1.6% to $53.6 billion, from $52.8 billion; food and beverage stores, also up 1.6% to $82.7 billion from $81.4 billion; and motor vehicle and parts dealers, up 1.3% to $134 billion, from $132.4 billion.

On a positive note for furniture stores, May 2024 sales of $10.72 billion were still above pre-pandemic levels of $10.03 billion in May 2019, $9.9 billion in 2018, $9.5 billion in 2017, $9.3 billion in 2016 and $9.06 billion in 2015.

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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One thought on “May furniture store sales fall 6.8% from May 2023

  1. Thank you for your profound insights and for sharing vital statistics with readers in the furniture industry. Having been part of this sector since the mid-1970s, with experience in both retail and now wholesale, I have witnessed numerous economic challenges. However, the past year has been particularly difficult for furniture retailers. We are facing reduced customer traffic, lower average ticket sales, and significant price increases due to logistics issues in ocean freight. The spot prices for containers have surged from $8,000 to $10,000, which could have a severe negative impact on our industry.

    Given these circumstances, it is crucial to stay informed about ongoing logistic dilemmas. Your insights are invaluable in helping us prepare our clients for what lies ahead.

    Thank you once again for your dedication and expertise.


    A Concerned Industry Member

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