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Plenty Of Top 100 Majap Dealers Post Gains

6/16/2013 08:00:00 PM Eastern

At first glance when you first check the TWICE Top 100 Major Appliance Retailers Report, which begins on p. 19, you may say the same thing I said: “Boy, there are a lot of retailers with double-digit gains in appliances.”

Maybe that’s why retailers selling major appliances are expanding their selections, especially as the economy ever so gradually grows and the housing market improves.

When you do a count of all the retailers on the Top 100 that showed majap sales gains during calendar year 2012, there are 70, with 20 having sales losses and 10 having flat sales.

Not only that, but 26 of the 70 retailers with increased major appliance sales in the Top 100 during 2012 had double-digit gains. Only five retailers had double-digit sales losses.

No matter its troubles, the No. 1 retailer is, once again, Sears, with $7.1 billion in sales, down 2 percent from the prior year. No. 2, Lowe’s, also took a small but surprising 2.3 percent sales cut. But No. 3 was a big winner — The Home Depot, with 9.7 percent gain in major appliance sales.

Major appliance sales for the TWICE Top 100 were up 2.1 percent in 2012 to $24.7 billion, a pretty good number. You would almost expect more given that 70 percent of the list showed gains.

The slow erosion of Sears’ market share could be part of the overall gain by the Top 100, but a better economy is the main impetus of the growth.

When you do the same kind of comparison to the TWICE Top 100 CE Retailers Report (published by TWICE on May 20) you can see why the Top 100’s sales were down 0.3 percent to $132.5 billion during calendar year 2012.

In the Top 100 CE Retailers Report, only 44 retailers showed sales gains. A hefty 55 retailers reported sales losses for the year, with only one having flat sales.

The competitive picture in CE was illustrated in that list’s top four: No. 1 Best Buy had a sales loss of 3.1 percent. As I’ve written previously, given all the drama of 2012, that is not too bad.

The next three on the list (in order), Walmart, Amazon.com and Apple Retail Stores all reported sales gains, mostly due to strengths they bring to the marketplace, as well as Best Buy’s distractions.

The challenges facing the CE business at retailing, starting with slow TV sales and continuing with other problems, are far more varied than the market and economic factors at play in the major appliance business.

But reasons aside, all of this explains why such electronics appliance chains as hhgregg (with a 17.6 percent major appliance sales gain), P.C. Richard & Son (7.3 percent increase), BrandsMart USA (9.3 percent gain), and Conn’s (up 5.9 percent) — who are all in the Major Appliance Top 100 — are all recalibrating their mix to capitalize on stronger major appliance demand.

The “sleeping giant” of the Top 100 dealers just may be Best Buy, with a sales gain of 2.2 percent last year to $1.83 billion and a hinted renewed emphasis major appliances, among other categories.

We should find out more about that as the second half of 2013 plays out.