2018 January Business Climate
In early February Hearth & Home faxed a survey to 2,500 specialty retailers of hearth, patio and barbecue products, asking them to compare January 2018 sales to January 2017. The accompanying charts and selected comments are from the 209 useable returns.
RETAILER SALES – U.S. AND CANADA
In January, better than half (56%) of Hearth retailers were UP in sales, while only 29% of Spa retailers, 24% of Patio retailers, and 14% of Barbecue retailers were UP.
13 MONTH YEAR-OVER-YEAR RETAILER SALES
In January, sales of Hearth products were up 11% over the prior year, Patio products were up a respectable 8%, Spas were up 5%, and Barbecue products were down 3%.
Connecticut: (Hearth) “Cold weather and higher oil prices are giving us a boost. Let’s hope this formula keeps things in an upswing for 2018.”
Maine: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “Extreme cold weather conditions have fueled demand for products and service well above January 2018.”
Maine: (Hearth) “Good old winter helped sales. Gas strong, wood good, and pellets great!”
New York: (Hearth) “Doing lots of NYSERDA sales and projects.”
New York: (Hearth, Patio) “January was a great month for sales. We are already halfway through our February goal.”
New York: (Hearth) “Happily our January sales showed an increase. Here on Long Island we have many alternative markets for homeowners, and that they have chosen to frequent our family-owned and operated small store is gratifying.”
For the following weather charts, the numbers for each state reflects the temperature and percipitation rankings for the period since records began in 1895.
While southern and mid-Atlantic states were hit with Below Average temperatures in January, nine western states had temperatures Much Above Average.
In the three-month period from November to January, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico set Record Warmest marks. Only New York, Pennsylania, Kentucky and North Carolina were Below Average.
Only the eight states of Washington, Nebraska, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Maine posted Above Average precipitation.
Arkansas: (Hearth) “Not a good retail month due to extremely cold weather. People did not get out to buy and installers could not install. February looks much better so far.”
Florida: (Hearth, BBQ) “Online sales of electric fireplaces up due to cold weather.”
Oklahoma: (Hearth) “Above normal temperatures and no precipitation affected sales.”
Oklahoma: (Hearth) “Worse January on record – best January on record. Pent-up demand or the Trump effect? Looking forward to a breather.”
Tennessee: (Patio, BBQ) “Big Green Egg sales continue to fall as their distribution in our area has expanded to several Ace Hardwares. Accessories and charcoal sales are down also because of this. Kamado-style cookers are losing their popularity because of over saturation of the market. They have dominated the last 10 years or more, but growth seems to be in pellet grills possibly.”
Texas: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “December sales picked up and helped the fourth quarter to improve from a negative. January is normally one of the slowest months, but looks like it might end up a little stronger than the last two years. We hope this is a sign that it will be a better year than last. Already seeing an upswing in walk-in customers, and contractors coming in for pricing and ordering grills and accessories.”
Illinois: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “Weather was better than usual in January but sales were status quo.”
Michigan: (Hearth, BBQ) “Up from 2017.”
Michigan: (Spas) “Normally January is a slow month after the holidays – so sales were the same as 2016 and 2017 – nothing exciting. Was expecting more foot traffic due to huge big three bonuses. It was a no-show so far. Weather was a big player also. The cold and snow slowed down the retail traffic big time. January was a great month to freshen up the stores. Gotta go – pizza is getting cold – only time of year we actually eat lunch!”
Nebraska: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “Sales we made in December are getting installed in January. We have decent momentum going forward it seems, and winter isn’t going away.”
Ohio: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “The post-Christmas sales blues have set in. Foot traffic is down but there are still plenty of good leads that can help us catch up to last year’s historic pace. We’re taking advantage of the time by developing relationships with high-end builders/remodelers and creating the blueprint for annual service contracts.”
Wisconsin: (Hearth) “Strong sales, very active builder market.”
Wisconsin: (Hearth, BBQ) “Still looking for a good, young, and strong employee. We offer a very good wage for our area. It’s hard to find one that can learn all the aspects of this industry, strong, dependable, and able to think on their own. We carefully screen personnel, have hired a few. Some have been absent at least one day a week, have an alcohol/drug problem, on their phones, or do not retain what they learn. We offer a generous pay for our area and full time work – it’s so frustrating.”
Wisconsin: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ, Spas) “Store activity has been very strong with lots of folks looking at building this coming year. Activity has been leaning toward wood products in new country homes.”
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.
Alaska: (Hearth, BBQ) “Still busy in January.”
California: (Hearth, BBQ) “We’re skipping winter this year, temps in the 80s, not good for hearth!”
Nevada: (Hearth, BBQ) “Happy New Year!”
Oregon: (Hearth, BBQ) “In our area it is unseasonably warm for winter. We were hoping for an increase but remained the same. More people this year are buying log sets, hearth items, and parts on-line with Amazon and such. Our manufacturers take F-O-R-E-V-E-R to get parts to us.”
Utah: (Patio, Spas) “The warm weather brought people in for patio furniture!”
Washington: (Hearth) “Mild weather compared to last year.”
British Columbia: (Hearth, BBQ) “We are consistently busy with hearth sales and service as well as chimney installations – haven’t seen any slowdowns since August 2017.”
British Columbia: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ, Spas) “First down month in 18 months but still over average for January, so I’ll take it. Fireplaces led the charge and weather put off lots of work that is now booked for February, so life is good.”
Ontario: (Hearth, BBQ) “Very cold – store traffic down but those who come in, buy.”
Ontario: (Hearth) “Our sales are high-end fireplaces, the majority being gas, not wood. We only had a couple of snow days, but it was very cold.”
Ontario: (Hearth, BBQ) “Really lousy month. Customer traffic was less than normal.”
Ontario: (Hearth, BBQ) “We have doubled our sales over last January. I think part of that was we were booked in December and started plugging sales into January. We have had a very cold winter with lots of snow this year so I am sure that has had an impact.”
Ontario: (Hearth, Patio, Spas) “Hearth sales are better than last year – though winter conditions don’t help sales.”
Ontario: (Hearth) “December sales were up 20% over last year. Overall, our sales for the past two quarters are up at least 30%. We only sell electric fireplaces and are making gains every year.”
Ontario: (BBQ) “I’m hoping it’s weather related as our online sales are dramatically down as well.”
Quebec: (Hearth) “Cold winter good for business.”
|COMPANY – EXCHANGE||SYMBOL||52 WEEK||Week Ending||% CHANGE||MARKET CAPITALIZATION|
|High||Low||29-Dec-17||26-Jan-18||4 WEEK||26 WEEK||52 WEEK||($000,000)|
|Standard & Poor’s 500 (a)||S & P||2,872.87||2,297.42||2,673.61||2,872.87||7.5%||16.2%||25.2%|
|HNI Corporation (b)||HNI||50.77||31.16||38.57||39.44||2.3%||5.7%||-23.4%||$1,640.00|
|Pool Corporation (c)||POOL||136.72||97.25||129.65||135.67||4.6%||30.1%||29.2%||$5,360.00|
|Restoration Hardware (b)||RH||109.53||24.41||86.21||103.84||20.5%||48.6%||298.0%||$1,960.00|
|Wayfair, Inc. (b)||W||94.95||35.36||80.27||93.30||16.2%||19.3%||120.5%||$7,790.00|