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Aug. Shipments Up 5.3%: AHAM

WASHINGTON – Factory unit shipments of major appliances rose 5.3 percent in August, continuing a six-month trend of positive consecutive comps.

Still, the August gains reflected a progressive summer slowdown from an 11.3 percent spike in June and a 7.1 percent increase in July, due ostensibly to the unseasonably cool weather that impacted sales of room air conditioners and refrigerators.

Indeed, the latest vendor stats, compiled by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), show a 43.1 percent drop in room air shipments in August, to some 37,400 units, although dehumidifiers enjoyed a 50.5 percent rise.

Also impacted by the cool summer climes were full-size refrigerators, another seasonal favorite, which slipped 0.4 percent for the month, while standalone freezer shipments fell 2.9 percent year over year.

Elsewhere, home laundry was also flat with factory sales of washers and dryers both down by 0.1 percent.

Also taking it on the chin was trash compactors, down 10.7 percent; electric cooktops, down 6 percent; and gas dryers, off by 4.8 percent.

Conversely, August’s big winner was cooking, led by a 23.7 percent increase in microwave oven shipments, and a 9.5 percent hike in gas ranges.

Taken as a whole, business was soft during a period when the industry traditionally ramps up for the Labor Day holiday period, as reflected in the AHAM 6. The composite category, comprised of the core washer, dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, freezer, range and oven segments, rose a meager 1.1 percent in August, to 3.3 million units, but is up a respectable 4.1 percent for the year.

Year-to-date shipments of all major appliances are similarly up 4.4 percent, to about 44.7 million units, AHAM said. The data include imported and domestically made goods but exclude export shipments.