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Hearth & Home January 2020

2019 November Business Climate


November Sales

In early December, Hearth & Home faxed a survey to 2,500 specialty retailers of hearth, patio, and barbecue products, asking them to compare November 2019 sales to November 2018. The accompanying charts and selected comments are from the 194 usable returns.


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Weather Report

Consumer Confidence

Stock Watch


MONTH-TO-MONTH

RETAILER SALES – U.S. AND CANADA
November 2019 vs. November 2018

Spa retailers had another good month; 47% of them were UP over the same month last year, while 38% of Hearth retailers were UP, 29% of Barbecue retailers were UP, and only 17% of Patio retailers were UP.


13 MONTH YEAR-OVER-YEAR RETAILER SALES
November 2019 vs. November 2018

In November, both Barbecue and Spa retailers were UP 4%, Hearth retailers were UP 3%, and Patio retailers were UP 1%.



Retailer Comments

Northeast

Massachusetts: (Hearth, Patio) “November was a good month, our advertising response was excellent. Good weather was another plus. Our inventory level had a very positive affect on sales. Outdoor furniture continues to be top sellers.”

New Jersey: (Hearth) “Still working on selling off all the non-2020 EPA compliant wood stoves. Deep discounts.”

New York: (Hearth) “Too much service work – not enough time for installs.”

New York: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “Fantastic year! Wood-stove sales really took off this year. We are completely sold out of non-2020 products. People seem to love the new ones. Wish some companies were farther along with the new product availability. Gas stoves have been strong all year long with inserts and fireplaces. Service work is off the scale. Never had so much work.”

New York: (Hearth, Spas) “Interesting that this year we have seen a spike in interest from the doomsday folks. They want to see wood stoves, pellet, and anything else that can keep them off the grid. On another note, we test marketed pellets in 20 lb. bags, and they were well-received by many of our female buyers in particular.

“Have been burning the BioBricks in our store; they burn quite well, but they have yet to get a stronghold in our market. We’re wondering if any other hearth retailers are selling them successfully. Brought in some accessories for Christmas shoppers, but with low expectations. Hard to compete with the convenience of online shopping – at home – in your PJs –while watching TV – eating popcorn, and cuddling the dog. Ya know? Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for a prosperous New Year to all our fellow brick-and-mortar supa-stars!”

Pennsylvania: (Hearth) “In addition to new sales, a lot of parts sales and service work.”

Pennsylvania: (Patio, Spas) “Sales are great. We also sell Christmas products and that is up 30%. Having a good year here in the Northeast.”


Weather Report

For the following weather charts, the numbers for each state reflects the temperature and percipitation rankings for the period since records began in 1895.

In November, California posted temperatures that were Much Above Average, while eight other contiguous states experienced Above Average temperatures.

For the three-month period of September – November, the heat was primarily in the Southeast, with Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia all experiencing Much Above Average temperatures.

In November, the states of North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin set a new Record Wettest period.

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South

Arkansas: (Hearth) “Pretty decent hearth retail month, but still behind YTD from 2018 due to a slow summer. Wood is king now. Weather is delaying installs but we will get them in ASAP.”

Florida: (Hearth, BBQ) “This last quarter has been sluggish; the Thanksgiving holiday helped but that was the last two weeks. December is looking better already. Maybe consumers were holding off their purchases until after Thanksgiving. I’m hoping the trend continues. Buy local.”

Kentucky: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “November 2019 sales were steady with our fall fireplace season starting in November instead of October this year.”

Virginia: (Hearth, BBQ) “Terrible year and month so far. The Internet is getting a lot of it.”

Virginia: (Hearth) “November was off the charts for us! Almost more work than we could handle, which is much more than November 2018. Praying it keeps up through December.”

Virginia: (Hearth, BBQ) “Everyone wants something installed by Christmas. It’s December 4. Really?”

Midwest

Michigan: (Spas) “Absolutely a horrible month for our retail sales across the board in all categories. Abnormally cold weather – major snowstorm – and General Motors UAW strike. It’s dark when you go to work. It’s dark when you leave work. Our sports team sucks. Nothing good at all to report in metro Detroit. Ho Ho Ho.”

Michigan: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “We are up overall around 5% over last year. Outdoor kitchens and fire pits died early due to weather, but fireplaces kicked up to make up for it.”

Michigan: (Hearth) “Another banner year for hearth products. Back-to-back record sales. I hate to say it, but I believe a recession will be on us in the next one to two years. In Michigan we get hit about 18 to 24 months before the rest of the country, anytime the big three auto companies struggle we very quickly see sales drop.”

Nebraska: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “Although a mild fall helps with new construction, it has hurt retail sales of hearth products this year.”

Ohio: (Hearth, BBQ) “Staff upgrades are still resulting in increased sales! Last year was a record-setting November, and we came close to doubling that number this November! Already ahead of 2018’s YTD sales and things continue to look good; we’re hoping that since the cold weather hasn’t even set in here in Ohio, that we will close out the year strong and continue that trend into the first quarter of 2020! Really hoping lawmakers help us out with a hefty tax credit on wood stoves to pair with the new EPA standards coming down the pike.”

Wisconsin: (Hearth) “The market is rapidly softening. Consumers are more cautious on big ticket items.”

Wisconsin: (Patio, BBQ, Spas) “Weather was a contributing factor for our sales this year – in both November and YTD.”

Wisconsin: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “Unbelievable month. Busiest in 30 years. Can’t believe in the amount of new construction. Wow. Still booked out two months. Not slowing down.”

Wisconsin: (Hearth, BBQ) “We are in a transition time. We are retiring and yet still functioning as a business until the new owners are completely in position. So some sales are going to them, the remaining to us. Makes our bottom line look down at this time. But really it is not.”


Consumer Confidence

The Consumer Confidence Index decreased in November, following a slight decline in October. The Index now stands at 125.5 (1985=100), down from 126.1 in October.

“Consumer confidence declined for a fourth consecutive month, driven by a softening in consumers’ assessment of current business and employment conditions,” said Lynn Franco, senior director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “The decline in the Present Situation Index suggests that economic growth in the final quarter of 2019 will remain weak. However, consumers’ short-term expectations improved modestly, and growth in early 2020 is likely to remain at around 2%. Overall, confidence levels are still high and should support solid spending during this holiday season.”

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.

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West

California: (Hearth, BBQ, Spas) “Great year so far, up from last year, and does not seem to be slowing down. Having trouble getting all the new 2020-compliant stoves in, in a timely manner, and the older models are all sold out.”

California: (Hearth, Spas) “November was a slow start for us due to warm weather conditions in California. Our priceless wet/cold conditions didn’t hit until the second week in November but the month still was up in sales from last year. Hopefully, our winter will be extended this year.”

Colorado: (BBQ) “Big Green Eggs are doing well. Pellet grills are on fire. Accessories are strong.”

Canada

British Columbia: (Hearth) “This year’s sales pattern has been strange, in that clients are not waiting until first frost to research/buy hearth products. Sales and installations of hearth products have been very steady, with a lead time of up to three months from deposit to installation due to high volume.”

British Columbia: (Hearth, BBQ) “Hearth sales are consistent with wood ahead of gas. While we haven’t hit a solid year for pellet units, some gas manufacturers frustrate us because they don’t include propane adaptors with their units – and propane is very important.”

Ontario: (Hearth) “We are predominantly RNC which in the GTA area of Ontario is experiencing a major slow down.”

Ontario: (BBQ) “We have been very fortunate this year. Sales were strong. Our website sales have seen significant growth.”


Stock Watch

COMPANY – EXCHANGE SYMBOL 52 WEEK Week Ending % CHANGE MARKET CAPITALIZATION
    High Low 1-Nov-19 29-Nov-19 4 WEEK 26 WEEK 52 WEEK ($000,000)
Standard & Poor’s 500 (a) S & P 3,153.63 2,351.10 3,066.91 3,140.98 2.4% 14.1% 13.8%  
HNI Corporation (b) HNI 42.23 29.90 38.54 39.29 1.9% 18.5% 1.9% $1,680.00
Pool Corporation (c) POOL 228.19 137.02 207.21 206.45 -0.4% 14.8% 27.0% $8,400.00
Restoration Hardware (b) RH 208.00 84.11 175.84 205.59 16.9% 141.4% 77.0% $3,840.00
Wayfair, Inc. (b) W 173.72 78.59 83.74 84.92 1.4% -41.0% -20.0% $7,900.00

NOTES:

(a) = Standard & Poor’s 500 is based on the market capitalizations of 500 large companies having common stock listed on the NYSE or NASDAQ. It is considered one of the best representations of the U.S. stock market, and a bellwether for the U.S. economy.
(b) = New York Stock Exchange
(c) = NASDAQ

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More Industry Data

2019 October Business Climate

In early November, Hearth & Home faxed a survey to 2,500 specialty retailers of hearth, patio, and barbecue products, asking them to compare October 2019 sales to October 2018. The accompanying charts and selected comments are from the 209 usable returns.

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2019 September Business Climate

In early October Hearth & Home faxed and emailed a survey to 2,500 specialty retailers of hearth, patio, and barbecue products, asking them to compare September 2019 sales to September 2018. The accompanying charts and selected comments are from the 194 usable returns.

» Continue

2019 August Business Climate

In early August, Hearth & Home faxed a survey to 2,500 specialty retailers of hearth, patio, and barbecue products, asking them to compare August 2019 sales to August 2018. The accompanying charts and selected comments are from the 182 usable returns.

» Continue

2019 July Business Climate

In early August, Hearth & Home faxed a survey to 2,500 specialty retailers of hearth, patio, and barbecue products, asking them to compare July 2019 sales to July 2018. The accompanying charts and selected comments are from the 206 usable returns.

» Continue