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April Appliance Sales Up 19.7%

Major appliance manufacturers started off the second quarter with the strongest growth in shipments for any month this year, a surge shared by both core and non-core products, according to figures issued by AHAM.

Appliance factory unit shipments to domestic customers came in at 5.36 million for April, up 19.7% from the 4.47 million of the same month last year and posting a percentage increase that nearly doubled the industry's 10.4% rise for this year's first quarter.

Shipments through the first four months were up 12.6% to 20.4 million from the year-earlier 18.1 million.

April shipments of core appliances (ranges, washers, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators and freezers) jumped 16.9% for the month to 2.85 million from 2.44 million, with double-digit growth achieved for all product categories except refrigerators.

On the year-through-April, core product shipments stood at 11.9 million, up 8.7% from last year's 10.9 million.

Shipments of non-core appliances (cooktops, microwave ovens, disposers, compactors, room air conditioners and dehumidifiers), surged 23.1% in April, climbing to 2.51 million from the 2.04 million of the same month last year, on the strength of a 44.5% surge in room air shipments. Room air demand also was primarily responsible for the four-month non-core shipment jump of 18.4% to 8.52 million from 7.19 million.

Excluding the impact of the solid growth in demand for room air, non-core shipments would have been up 10.6% for the month and 8.5% for the full period. The four-month performance for non-core shipments was undercut somewhat by a deduction of 39,600 units AHAM made in making a downward revision of first-quarter shipments of dehumidifiers.