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Floor Care Stumbled In 1st Quarter

Factory sales of full-size household vacuum cleaners fell 6.2 percent during the first quarter of 2002 to 4.9 million units, the Vacuum Cleaner Manufacturers Association (VCMA) reported.

In announcing the decline, the trade group noted that the comparable year-ago quarter was the best in industry history, when a record 5.3 million units were sold. Moreover, sales during the first three months of 2002 improved slightly from the fourth quarter of 2001, which VCMA interprets as “a sign of the general economic recovery.”

Breaking out the results by month, March sales slipped 6.7 percent to 1.9 million units, compared with the same period last year. Once again, the industry was up against stiff comps as March 2001 stands as the biggest month ever for vacuum cleaner factory shipments at nearly 2 million units.