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July Majap Shipments Fall 4%

8/17/2011 01:08:35 PM Eastern

Washington - The
summer appliance slump is evident in the latest wholesale data from the
Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), which shows a 4 percent
decline in unit factory shipments last month.

But the figure,
which reflects a nearly 22 percent boost in AC shipments amid record-setting
heat throughout much of the eastern U.S. last month, belies continuing weakness
in the industry's core categories.

The steepest
decline was seen in home laundry, where washer and dryer shipments fell 9.6
percent and 11.3 percent respectively year over year, to about 800,200 units.
The downturn was most pronounced among gas-fueled dryers, which dropped 16.3
percent last month.

Faring slightly
better was the cooking category, which declined 8.2 percent in unit shipments
on weakness in gas ranges (down 20.7 percent) and gas and electric ovens (down
14.5 percent and 14.2 percent, respectively). The only sub-sector to make it
into the plus column was electric cooktops, which edged up 1.7 percent year
over year.

Food preservation
was on par with cooking, with total shipments down 8 percent on an 8.3 percent
decline in full-size refrigerators that was partially offset by a 6.4 percent
decrease in standalone freezers.

 Kitchen cleanup fared best among the core
categories, with dishwasher shipments down just 2.7 percent and disposers off
by 5.8 percent.

Taken together,
the six major categories that comprise the composite AHAM 6 -- washers, dryers,
dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, ranges and ovens -- fell 9.1 percent year
over year in July, and are down 5.7 percent year to date.

Still, total
shipments are down only 0.5 percent year to date, due to strong showings in
February (up 6 percent) and March (up 11 percent), which preceded tough
comparisons to last year's springtime boost from federal appliance stimulus
funds.