WASHINGTON —Factory shipments of major appliances continued their negative run in August.
According to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), unit shipments fell 6.2 percent year-over-year to 4.8 million majaps, and are down 7.4 percent year to date.
The trend was most telling within the AHAM 6, a composite category that includes the core washer, dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, freezer, range and oven sectors. Unit shipments were down 10.2 percent in August to 3.2 million pieces and are off 8.1 percent for the year.
The biggest drop was seen in kitchen cleanup, with shipments down 15.3 percent. The decline was led by trash compactors, down 36 percent, and portable dishwashers, down 30 percent. The built-in dishwasher category declined 16.7 percent to about 470,800 units and is down 12.2 percent for the year.
Also taking it on the chin was home laundry, which fell 10.6 percent on weakness in gas dryers (down 19 percent), while unit shipments of washing machines declined 8.4 percent.
In contrast, food preservation and cooking both sustained single-digit declines of 4.4 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively. Within the former, refrigerator shipments fell 7.8 percent and remain off 8.2 percent for the year, although freezers rallied with a 13 percent spike to nearly 200,000 units. In cooking, the category was dragged down by a 28.4 percent decline in surface cooking units and a 21.4 percent drop in gas oven shipments, offset by a 6.5 percent increase in microwave ovens. Some 900,000 microwave units were shipped last month, although the category remains down 3.4 percent year to date, compared with the same period last year.
Also entering positive territory was home comfort, up 73.6 percent on strong seasonal sales of room air conditioners. AC shipments skyrocketed 352.3 percent to about 94,500 units last month but are still down 4.4 percent for the year.
Its category mate, dehumidifiers, saw shipments rise a more modest 4.2 percent but remains down 20.1 percent year to date.
John White, major appliances VP of the Brand Source buying organization, told attendees at the group's biannual convention last month that trends are slowly improving, with majap sales close to flat in the retail channel while the builder business continues to experience the lion's share of the declines (see story above).
Industry Shipments Of Major Appliances*
(In Thousands of Units)