Once again, major appliances proved to be the deciding factor between an up or down year for America’s leading specialty dealers.
True, CE retail sales growth did outpace white-goods revenue in 2015, 4.3 percent to 3.7 percent, according to the TWICE rankings.
But as Deutsche Bank’s hardline retail analyst Mike Baker pointed out after crunching the TWICE Top 100 CE Retailers Report numbers, fully 90 percent of that $5.6 billion gain went right into Jeff Bezos’ pockets.
Much of Amazon’s amazin’ market share gain can be attributed to the pain it has inflicted, either directly or indirectly, on others. Bob Tancula, research VP at TWICE market research partner The Stevenson Company, noted that total Top 100 CE growth — which included an increase of $7.3 billion from the top four players alone (Best Buy, Amazon, Walmart and Apple) — was more than offset by single- and double-digit declines across the rankings.
Not to point fingers, but no one felt the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune more than RadioShack, whose CE sales cratered by more than 45 percent in a year that saw the chain go Chapter 11, and reemerge under private ownership with just 40 percent of its store base intact.
Enter appliances. With few exceptions (most notably Sears Holdings and hhgregg, which face their own existential issues), the country’s top white-goods dealers mostly made it into the plus column, with more than their fair share of double- and even triple-digit gains. Case in point: Ikea, which barreled onto the combined CE/majap charts in 100th place on the strength of a private-label kitchen collection supplied by Whirlpool, which drove a 31 percent gain in appliance sales.
Likewise Famous Tate, which has no CE standing either, made it to 77th place on the combo listing thanks to a $67 million appliance business that grew more than 14 percent in 2015.
Enjoying the best of both worlds however is Nebraska Furniture Mart, No. 24 on the CE/Majap charts. The Warren Buffet-owned business enjoyed the fruits of opening what it described as the largest home furnishings emporium on the continent last year in Dallas, and went on to kill it in both categories by scoring a 50-percent spike in CE sales, to $399 million, and a 62 percent increase in appliances, to $338 million.
Now that’s a balanced portfolio.