By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Sluggish sales of microwave ovens and room air conditioners helped drag factory shipments of major appliances down by 6.7 percent in July, compared to the period last year.
According to the monthly tally of wholesale sales compiled by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), shipments fell to 4.2 million units from 4.5 million in July 2000. Year-to-date, shipments dropped 7.1 percent to 37.4 million units.
Leading the decline were microwave ovens, sales of which plummeted 30.5 percent to 686,000 units in July. The drop-off, along with a 12 percent slip in shipments of built-in gas ranges (the smallest majap sector) to 4,000 units, caused the total cooking category to fall 20 percent.
Also pulling down the AHAM totals was the home comfort category, which fell 21.4 percent. Relatively mild July weather in the Northeast â€” ground zero for room air conditioner sales â€” caused that segment to drop 18 percent in unit shipments, while its sister sector in home comfort, dehumidifiers, fell 35 percent.
But all was not doom and gloom. On the plus side, the kitchen clean-up category grew a respectable 5.8 percent on the strength of disposer and dishwasher sales, followed by food preservation (up 3.7 percent) and home laundry (essentially flat with 0.1 percent growth).
Even more encouraging for manufacturers was the 2.1 percent rise in factory shipments of the so-called "AHAM 6," which is comprised of the core washer, dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, freezer and cooking range categories.Industry Shipments Of Major Appliances*
|Product||2001 JULY||2000 JULY||% Chg.||2001 7 mos.||2000 7 mos.||% Chg.|
|ALL MAJOR APPLIANCES||4,241.4||4,544.0||-6.7%||37,393.4||40,240.5||-7.1%|
|COOKING - TOTAL||1,199.6||1,502.8||-20.2%||10,997.4||11,877.4||-7.4%|
|ELECTRIC RANGES - TOTAL||331.2||319.2||3.8%||2,710.4||2,823.0||-4.0%|
|Surface Cooking Units||34.6||34.2||1.0%||273.3||280.5||-2.5%|
|GAS RANGES - TOTAL||182.5||196.7||-7.2%||1,589.0||1,757.5||-9.6%|
|Surface Cooking Units||25.6||25.2||1.5%||207.4||209.1||-0.8%|
|HOME LAUNDRY - TOTAL||906.6||905.5||0.1%||7,823.8||8,156.0||-4.1%|
|DRYERS - TOTAL||432.5||422.6||2.3%||3,657.5||3,786.6||-3.4%|
|KITCHEN CLEAN UP - TOTAL||834.7||788.8||5.8%||6,260.2||6,572.9||-4.8%|
|DISHWASHERS - TOTAL||405.8||384.1||5.7%||3,085.2||3,344.6||-7.8%|
|FOOD PRESERVATION - TOTAL||998.7||963||3.7%||6,360.4||6,582.0||-3.4%|
|FREEZERS - TOTAL||175.9||165.5||6.3%||1,157.7||1,129.1||2.5%|
|HOME COMFORT - TOTAL||301.8||384||-21.4%||5,951.7||7,052.3||-15.6%|
|ROOM AIR CONDITIONERS||253.2||308.9||-18.0%||5,268.5||6,277.7||-16.1%|
|For period of four weeks ended July 28, 2001|
*Domestic shipments only. Includes U.S. produced and imported products.
** AHAM 6 includes: Washer, Dryers, Dishwashers, Refrigerator, Freezers, and Freestanding and Built-In Ranges.
Source: AHAMÂ©TWICE 2001
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