Factory shipments of major appliances retreated from their 6 percent spike in September to a more modest 2.9 percent gain in October, according to data compiled by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM).
Wholesale sales were tempered by weakness within the laundry category, which remained essentially flat with 0.6 percent unit growth. Shipments of gas dryers led the October decline with a 7 percent decrease in factory sales year over year, offsetting the 1.8 percent gain by washers, of which some 573,300 units were shipped.
Also taking it on the chin in October was the cooking category, which edged up 1.1 percent on weakness in microwave ovens. The latter slipped 3.6 percent while shipments of electric ranges ratcheted up 12.5 percent on the strength of built-in sales, which grew 17.7 percent to about 79,800 units.
Built-in gas ranges also experienced an unusually robust gain of 14.8 percent, followed by gas-fueled surface cooking units, sales of which grew 11.2 percent.
Double-digit gains were also posted by the food preservation grouping, which was up 10.4 percent cumulatively to just over 1 million units. Refrigeration led the pack with a 12.1 percent hike in shipments, followed by chest-style freezers which saw sales rise 7.9 percent.
Coming in second in unit volume percentage gains was the kitchen clean-up crew, which grew 8.5 percent in October. The category was buoyed by a 20.7 percent spike in factory sales of portable dishwashers and a 10.3 percent increase in garbage disposer shipments. Those gains were tempered by 2 percent decline in wholesale sales of trash compactors year over year.
The biggest losses continued to be claimed by the home comfort category. Despite an 11.9 percent hike in dehumidifier sales, vendors took back nearly 100,000 room air conditioners in October, as the effects of an unusually cool summer continued to be felt.
Finally, the AHAM 6, an amalgam of the core washer, dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, freezer and range categories, posted a 6.6 percent gain in factory shipments to 3.4 million units.