Washington – Factory
shipments of major appliances took another turn for the worse in June, when unit
volume fell 29.2 percent year over year.
According to the
latest data from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM),
shipments totaled less than 5.7 million units for the four weeks, ended July 4,
compared with the 8 million units shipped during the same period last year.
By comparison, wholesale
sales fell 17.4 percent in May and are down 19.3 percent year to date.
direness of the numbers is that they now anniversary two years of declining
downturn in June was the room air conditioner category, which fell 60 percent
in June to about 727,000 units. The cool, wet weather that blanketed much of
the nation in late spring and early summer proved disastrous for A/C sales,
which dealers depend on for cash flow during the otherwise languid summer months.
But the rout was
not limited to seasonal sales. The core refrigeration, laundry and cooking
categories were battered as well, falling 15.3 percent, 18.5 percent and 22.4
percent, respectively, in June.
Big losers among
the latter included gas-fueled stove tops, which declined 34.6 percent, and
microwave ovens, which fell 28.2 percent.
In laundry, unit
shipments of washers fell 19.1 percent to about 708,000 units as more
cash-strapped consumers repair rather than replace their older models.
which traditionally enjoy a summertime bump when older units fail in the warmer
temperatures, similarly declined 16.4 percent, to 931,000 units.
The majap downturn,
now entering its third year, had been driven primarily by the collapsing
housing market. But demand has been further blunted by the recession and
mounting unemployment, which has caused consumers to put off many big-ticket
Sears recently addressed the situation by
insuring certain majap purchases against job loss. Nevertheless, as Whirlpool
CEO Jeff Fettig observed, “The demand environment remains a significant