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Cooking Category Heated Up October

WASHINGTON – The cooking category was on fire in October.

According to the latest monthly vendor tally from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), factory shipments of ovens and ranges rose 15.1 percent year-over-year, to some 1.5 million units, and are ahead 7.7 percent year to date.

Leading the pre-Black Friday buildup were gas cooktops, up nearly 30 percent, and microwave ovens, ahead 22.3 percent in October.

The surge helped offset a nearly 7 percent decline in gas ovens, the only cooking category that cooled that month.

Together, cooking helped fuel a 5.3 percent rise in total majap shipments in October, to nearly 4.9 million units.

Other hot categories included home laundry, up 5.7 percent on strength in washers, which offset flat demand for electric dryers.

Kitchen cleanup nearly matched that performance, up 5.4 percent on a 36 percent gain in portable dishwasher volume, and a healthy 16 percent spike in shipments of built-in models.

Refrigerators put in a chillier performance, up just 2.4 percent for the month, while its category, mate chest-style freezers, thawed out the food preservation sector with a nearly 16 percent gain.

The only major category to show declines was home comfort, which is still trying to digest the weak room air season last summer. AC shipments plummeted 66.4 percent, offsetting the solid gains recorded by most other majap categories.

All told, the industry’s core products – washers, dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, ranges and ovens, otherwise known as the AHAM 6 – posted an impressive 6.5 percent increase for the month, and are still ahead 5.2 percent for the year.

Total industry shipments are similarly up 5 percent year to date, to about 56.2 million units.