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Audio Sees May Sales Rise 9.4%

A strong surge in May factory sales of compact and component stereo systems and a double-digit rise in aftermarket autosound produced the first monthly increase of the year for total audio industry sales and nudged the five-month cumulative sales total slightly ahead of last year.

According to CEMA figures, total audio sales for the month rose 9.4% to $655.8 million from last year's $599.6 million, to put the five-month total at just under $2.8 billion, up a scant 0.6% from the $2.78 billion recorded in the same 1998 period.

Compact and component audio systems provided the bulk of the month's sales rise with a 43.8% jump to a May record $176.2 million, for a January-May cumulative sales total of $651.4 million, up 9.3%. The rise in system sales more than offset the month's 7.1% drop in sales of individual components to $104.4 million, and put May sales of total home audio products at $288.6 million, up 19.5%.

Through the first five months component sales declined 6% to $521.8 million from 1998's $555.4 million, a total boosted by $8.37 million with the retroactive addition of sales of home MiniDisc recorders. That, combined with system sales, put the cumulative five-month home audio sales at $1.17 billion up 1.6%.

Portable audio sales suffered the sixth consecutive monthly sales decline in May, with a 4.5% drop to $193.4 million. The five-month sales total of $717.9 million was off 13.7%.

The industry's other growth area, aftermarket autosound, had a 12.1% May sales rise to $181.9 million, to lift the five-month total by 13.6% to $905.9 million.

Based on traditional selling patterns, the seasonally adjusted annual selling rates for audio systems and aftermarket autosound indicate that each is on track to turn 1999 into their first-ever $2 billion sales year.

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