2017 February Business Climate
In early March, Hearth & Home faxed a survey to 2,500 specialty retailers of hearth, barbecue and patio products, asking them to compare February 2017 sales to February 2016. The accompanying charts and selected comments are from the 189 useable returns.
RETAILER SALES – U.S. AND CANADA
In February, 56% of Spa retailers tell us sales were Up over the same period in 2016; 39% of Hearth dealers were also Up, as were 21% of BBQ retailers and 16% of Patio dealers.
13 MONTH YEAR-OVER-YEAR RETAILER SALES
Spas are definitely on a roll. In January, they posted an 8% gain; now, in February, Spas show a 13% increase over that same period a year ago.
Delaware: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “Just remember, we are a small barbecue product dealer. More weather-breaking temperatures here in Delaware!”
Connecticut: (Hearth) “Even though we recorded No Change from last February reports, those results were Poor, as this report finds our sales.”
Maine: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “New construction is down over last year-to-date. Renovations and retro fits are steady with less volume. Almost no power outages this winter seem to slow demand for alternative back-up heat.”
Maine: (Hearth) “Despite crazy weather here in the Northeast this year, consumers are still showing interest in pellet-burning products. We’re off to a better start than last year, with March already showing promise as well. Seems to be a bit of new single-family home construction and remodels going on in our area, with all fuel lines being considered. We’re very hopeful for a more profitable 2017!”
Maine: (Hearth) “Business keeps on going down.”
Massachusetts: (Hearth) “We utilized a lot of advertising on Facebook and online which drove a lot of the sales into the store.”
New Jersey: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “Missed last report – solid January and February. Showroom steady.”
New York: (BBQ, Spas) “Quiet at the beginning of the month, then a burst of activity. 2016 inventory sold out!”
New York: (Patio, Spas) “Sales were good because of the good weather. More people are optimistic about the economy.”
New York: (Hearth) “We in the Northeast thought 2016 was a bad year, but we were wrong. 2017 has been worse. Our sales of stoves and fuel are down about 20%. Another bad year and a 41-year-old family business may go under.”
Pennsylvania: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “February was like spring in our area for most of the month. We took advantage of the warm weather by doing a total remodel of our outdoor living area. We hope to drive sales up in the coming months.”
For the following weather charts, the numbers for each state reflect the temperature ranking for the period since records began in 1895.
While 16 states from New York to Texas had Record Warmest temperatues in February, and almost all the rest of country posted either Much Above Average or Above Average temperatures, Oregon and Washington stood out with Near Average and Below Average temperatures, respectively.
During the three-month period from December 2016 to February 2017, 38 states posted Above Average and Much Above Average temperatures, while Texas and Louisiana reached a Record Warmest level.
In the Northwest corner of the country, six states – Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming – experienced Much Above Average precipitation.
Arkansas: (Hearth) “Not a great month for retail due to warmer temps and Washington jitters, but better than 2016. Really slowed down after the first week. Looks like our heating season is about over for now.”
Louisiana: (Hearth) “New building in our area of eastern Louisiana. We have had some rain, but the builders are still building and homeowners are remodeling.”
Texas: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “Warmer weather helped get the barbecue sales started earlier than last year; some customers are starting to both plan and build outdoor living areas already. If weather stays good it should make for a stronger first quarter than last year for barbecues and patios.”
Virginia: (Hearth, BBQ) “Weather, weather, weather, people thinking of outside not inside.”
Indiana: (Hearth, BBQ) “Warm weather.”
Indiana: (Patio, BBQ, Spas) “Warm weather has helped the pellet grills we sell. Our pool side of the business is booming; we’re sold out until the first of September.”
Michigan: (Hearth, Spas) “Enjoying a nice bump in gas products thanks to cheap gas, both natural and LP. We’re having a decent late winter–early spring.”
Michigan: (Spas) “Sales the same, but half the traffic. Story is getting old and I can’t figure it out. Floor traffic is off again. Our closing rate is high. There’s just no volume of people coming in. Big bonus-bucks handout by big three. My fear factor is that people buy when they receive instant gratification. The new mentality is, I’m here today, I want it tomorrow. If that’s correct, April and May will be insane.”
Michigan: (Hearth) “Worst February in four years. A mild winter leading to little traffic. Propane prices being low prompted little interest in solid-fuel appliances.”
Missouri: (Hearth, BBQ) “Continued warm weather softened heating sales. Wood stove and insert sales are slow. Barbecue took off much earlier because of warm temperatures.”
Missouri: (BBQ, Spas) “People are happy to spend money when the sun is out and it’s warm in February. Big Green Egg sales are up.”
Ohio: (Hearth, BBQ) “We crushed a sales record for best start to a calendar year. Direct-vent fireplace projects were a big part of that. If it stays like this, 2017 could be a lot of fun.”
Wisconsin: (Hearth, BBQ) “Very busy. Walk-in customers. New construction way up. No slow days. People spending money. Higher-end products selling. Wood fireplaces moving. Gas steady.”
Wisconsin: (Hearth, BBQ) “Sales on paper are down this month. We do not bill out our installations until the job is completely done. There are a couple of jobs that are being carried over into March. The total sales for the year are still up.”
A reading above 90 indicates the economy is on solid footing; above 100 signals strong growth.
The Index is based on a probability-design random sample conducted for The Conference Board by The Nielsen Company.
California: (Hearth) “Wow - what a February! Sales up - traffic up - lots of quotes.”
California: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ, Spas) “This weather is killing us. We need a couple of weeks to catch up from all the rain and snow. Hoping all this bad weather will bring lots of sales this summer.”
Idaho: (Hearth) “February was our best month in four years, but not because of sales. They were way down, and I didn’t care. I was in Cancun, Mexico.”
Oregon: (Hearth, BBQ) “Hearth products are selling well. New construction taking off. Looks like a good off-season.”
Oregon: (Hearth, BBQ) “February was incredible; we’re working to stretch the season as far as possible.”
Washington: (Hearth, BBQ) “Record February hearth sales were off-the-charts in all categories.”
Alberta: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “Slow February compared to last year.”
British Columbia: (Hearth, BBQ) “A tough winter with many power failures has helped sales. With winters like these, everyone needs a wood stove and chimney. We continue to promote the most necessary words – today’s stoves need today’s chimneys.”
British Columbia: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ, Spas) “Worst February for weather that I can remember, but sales were great – up 36% with no categories declining. Can’t ask for more than that.”
British Columbia: (Hearth) “Typical quiet February.”
Ontario: (Hearth, BBQ) “Awesome weather the last two weeks resulted in a record February!”
Ontario: (BBQ) “February was down. However, overall we are up over last year. The second quarter of 2017 will be the real test.”
Ontario: (Patio, BBQ) “Still cold up here.”
Ontario: (Hearth, BBQ) “Not busy at all.”
|COMPANY – EXCHANGE||SYMBOL||52 WEEK||Week Ending||% CHANGE||MARKET CAPITALIZATION|
|High||Low||27-Jan-17||24-Feb-17||4 WEEK||26 WEEK||52 WEEK||($000,000)|
|HNI Corporation (a)||HNI||56.96||32.95||51.50||45.63||-11.4%||-16.9%||35.6%||$2,030.0|
|Pool Corporation (b)||POOL||117.80||79.70||105.03||116.10||10.5%||14.6%||41.9%||$4,800.0|
|Restoration Hardware Holdings (a)||RH||46.87||24.41||26.09||31.34||20.1%||-3.8%||-22.5%||$1,280.0|
|Wayfair, Inc. (a)||W||49.34||27.60||42.31||39.30||-7.1%||-0.8%||44.8%||$3,370.0|
(a) = New York Stock Exchange