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Appliance Shipments Continue To Nosedive

Washington — Unit shipments of major appliances fell more than 17 percent in May, marking the sixth consecutive month of double-digit declines in factory sales.

According to data compiled by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), total shipments fell by nearly a million units in May and were off by about 5 million units, or nearly 17 percent, year to date.

The majap industry downturn, which remains in lockstep with the ravaged housing market, is now in its third year, meaning the year-over-year comparisons are lapping nearly 24 months of successive unit shipment shortfalls.

Adding to last month’s declines and dealer woes is the unseasonably cool, wet weather blanketing much of the Northeast, a core market for room air conditioners. Shipments of the commodity cash cow fell nearly 41 percent last month to 988,000 units, although the drop-off was partially offset by a 25 percent increase in wholesale sales of dehumidifiers — one of only two product categories to enjoy increases last month.

(The other, chest-style freezers, edged up 3 percent.)

Declines within the core “AHAM 6” categories, including washers, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, ranges and ovens, appeared to moderate somewhat in May, with the composite falling a relatively modest 11 percent year over year.

Broken out by component, the vendor-supplied shipment data show that:

·washers fell 9.5 percent to about 578,700 units;

·dryers fell 11.4 percent to about 490,500 units;

· dishwashers fell 12.6 percent to about 407,300 units;

· refrigerators fell 9.2 percent to about 740,900 units;

· gas ranges declined 13.8 percent to some 149,700 units, while electric ranges fell 17.7 percent to about 249,900 units; and

· gas ovens fell 12.9 percent to about 2,800 units, and electric ovens fell 24.8 percent to about 39,800 units.