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Appliance Slump Continues: AHAM

But room air and cooking are still hot.

Recent softness in the major appliance sector continued last month in all but the cooking and room-air categories.

According to the latest factory shipment figures from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), unit volume was down 1.2 percent across the board in August, to some 5.6 million units.

For AC sellers it was the best of times, with unit shipments up 47.3 percent as consumers continued to battle the dog days of summer.

See: Record Temps Send AC Sales Soaring

The cooking category was also on fire, up 12.2 percent in total, and led by microwave ovens (up 14.5 percent); gas-fueled wall ovens (up 12 percent); and electric cooktops (up 11.2 percent).

But the balance of the appliance business lost ground year over year, with dishwashers down 2.3 percent, full-size refrigerators down 6.4 percent, and laundry down 12.3 percent, offsetting the cooking category gains.

The AHAM 6 said it all. The amalgam of six core categories (washers, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, ranges and ovens) was down 5.3 percent for the month following a 2 percent decline in July, and has slipped nearly 1 percent year to date.