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July Sales Rise With Temperature

Factory shipments of major appliances rose 10.2 percent in July, compared with the year-ago period, according to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM).

Total unit sales of all white goods reached 5.6 million in July, a 10.2 percent increase from 5.0 million units sold in July 2002. Year-to-date shipments topped 44 million, surpassing the same period last year by 8.5 percent.

The month’s positive results were mostly attributed to skyrocketing sales in the home comfort category, including a 33.6 percent increase in room air conditioners (826,100 units sold) and a 94 percent climb in dehumidifiers (133,200 units sold), compared to June 2002 numbers.

Demand was also strong for the home laundry sector, with 1.1 million units shipping in July, a 15.8 percent jump from the 944,800 units sold in July 2002. Automatic washers climbed 13.3 percent, and electric and gas dryer sales rose 18.9 percent for the month, compared to July 2002.

The cooking category continued a moderate upward momentum, with 3.7 percent more units, or 1.6 million units, shipping this July than in July 2002. The only cooking items to see a decline were microwave ovens, which slipped 1.4 percent for the month, and built-in gas ranges, which decreased 3.1 percent for the month.

The food preservation category suffered slightly from the year-ago period, with a 2.8 percent fall. Refrigerator and freezer units took a hit, with 1.5 percent and 7.9 percent decreases, respectively.

But in general, July was a solid month for majaps, as indicated by the 7 percent gain for the AHAM 6 category, which includes the core washer, dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, freezer and range sectors that provides a snapshot of industry commerce.

Year-to-date AHAM 6 sales have inched up 0.5 percent, with 23.1 million units shipping.

Industry Shipments Of Major Appliances*

(In Thousands Of Units)