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Appliance Shipments Stall In April: AHAM

Factory shipments of major appliances took it on the chin in April following months of solid gains, falling 10 percent in unit volume year over year. The downturn, which impacted every white-goods category except refrigeration, came as retailers should have been stocking up for Memorial Day weekend, a major selling opportunity on the promotional calendar, which caused concern on Wall Street.

According to the wholesale sales report, issued each month by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), the shipment declines were sharpest in home comfort, down 21 percent, but were most worrisome in laundry, a core industry category that fell 14 percent from April 2015.

Elsewhere, cooking was down 6 percent but refrigerators, dishwashers and gas ranges each eked out low-to mid-single-digit gains.

The April setback lowered what had been solid year-to-date growth to a flattish 0.6 percent increase for the first quarter.

Samsung Goes Wide With Family Hub Fridge

Samsung’s feature-rich and richly priced Family Hub refrigerator made its formal marketplace debut across multiple retail channels last month, in time for the Mother’s and Memorial Day holidays.

As part of its send-off, Samsung provided special merchandising presentations ranging from end-caps to branded display modules that also hold a range and microwave oven, said Shane Higby, the manufacturer’s home appliances marketing VP.

National accounts including The Home Depot, Lowe’s and Best Buy hosted “demo days” events led by Samsung field marketing reps, and the company further fanned the flames with a national TV, print and digital ad campaign.

First introduced at CES where it copped a TWICE Picks Award for its host of space-age features, the Family Hub is available in four configurations in a suggested retail range of $5,800 to $6,000.

Samsung may not initially sell a ton of Family Hubs at that price point, Higby acknowledged, but the eye-popping appliances are expected to be a draw on retail sales floors, where their “halo effect” could lead to ancillary sales.

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