Factory shipments of major appliances took a dive in April following months of solid gains, falling 10 percent in unit volume year over year.
The downturn, which impacted every white-goods category except refrigeration, came as retailers should traditionally be stocking up for Memorial Day weekend, a major selling opportunity on the promotional calendar.
Word of the wholesale sales report, issued each month by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), sent shares of Whirlpool and Electrolux lower in midday trading yesterday.
The shipment declines were sharpest in home comfort, down 21 percent, but were most worrisome in laundry, a core industry category that fell 14 percent from April 2015.
Elsewhere, cooking was down 6 percent on an 11 percent decline in microwave oven shipments, although refrigerators, dishwashers and gas ranges all eked out low- to mid-single-digit gains.
The April setback lowered what had been solid year-to-date growth in total industry shipments to a flattish 0.6 percent increase for the first quarter.