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Hearth & Home August 2020

2020 June Business Climate

June Sales

In early July Hearth & Home faxed a survey to 2,389 specialty retailers of hearth, patio, and barbecue products, asking them to compare June 2020 sales to June 2019. The accompanying charts and selected comments are from the 233 useable returns.

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Weather Report

Consumer Confidence

Stock Watch


June 2020 vs. June 2019

Once again, the Spa industry flourished as homeowners stayed at home. Eighty-eight percent of Spa retailers were UP in June, 12% were the same as last year, and no Spa retailers told us they were down; 70% of Patio retailers were UP, 60% of Barbecue retailers were UP, and only 37% of Hearth retailers were UP.

June 2020 vs. June 2019

In June, sales of Spas were UP 41%; sales of Patio products were UP 25%; sales of Barbecue products were UP 23%, and sales of Hearth products were UP only 3%.

Retailer Comments


Delaware: (Hearth, BBQ) “We are at the exact numbers from 2019; that being said, 2019 was the worst year in stove-sale history. Even though open through COVID-19, floor traffic has not existed.”

Maine: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “June retail sales were down slightly. That said, we are fortunate that business is steady with strong interest in home remodeling and existing home installs. We expect a busier than average fall season. Requests for pellet grills with Wi-Fi are up.”

New Jersey: (Hearth, BBQ) “Anything for outside sells, as long as you can get it. All are out of stock.”

New York: (Hearth, Spas) “Heavens to Murgatroyd, what in tarnation is going on? First we close due to COVID-19, and our business absolutely tanks. Then we open and have the best June we’ve ever had! It must be all that quarantining has folks pining for those home improvement projects. That and the fact that they are collecting TURBO unemployment, plus a stimulus check, plus that juicy tax refund.

“Everyone has extra cabbage to spend! (Business owners are excluded from most of those benefits, of course). We are anticipating a great hearth season, provided the supply chain remains well oiled. Hold on tight friends, we’re in for a heck of a ride.”

New York: (Spas) “It continues to be a wild ride. Retail is now open with COVID-19 guidelines. Everyone discovered what a hot tub is eight weeks ago. Inventory sold out quick and floor models also. Replenishing stock slowly due to factory shutdown. All in all, it’s going to be a good sales year if there are no further complications.”

New York: (Hearth, BBQ) “We just started selling pellet barbecue grills. As COVID-19 has hit us all, many homeowners are spending money on products they use at home. Our pellet grills seem to have found a market. We sell flavored pellets as well. Our small business is nestled between two large box stores, and customers also like getting our personal service. Looking forward to a long summer.”

Pennsylvania: (Hearth) “Our fiscal year runs July 1 through June 30. We are down 5% for the fiscal year. Last year was our best ever; this past fiscal year was our second best.”

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 June, the heat was primarily in the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and New England. Those areas experienced Much Above Average temperatures.

For the period April – June, 14 states primarily in the South, Southeast experienced Below Average temperatures, while five states (Florida, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and California) experienced Much Above Average temperatures.

In June, Idaho was a standout state with Much Above Average precipitation, while 10 states (Washington, Oregon, Montana, Utah, Wisconsin, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Alabama, and Mississippi were at Above Average precipitation.

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Arkansas: (Hearth) “Very slow retail month as expected, but better than last year. No floor traffic whatsoever. It cannot get any worse.”

Florida: (Hearth, BBQ) “Wear a mask!”

Oklahoma: (Hearth, BBQ) “Minor boom from COVID-19 re-opening. Daily problem – supply chain disruptions mean product shortages.”

Oklahoma: (Hearth, Spas) “My company was only down 10% because we are in the pool business. Pool business is off the charts. I also sold my son the service part of my pool business so I’m very happy with only being off 10%. We are doing very well.”

South Carolina: (Hearth) “Since we could be considered “essential” during the coronavirus shutdown, we have maintained regular shop hours. People seem to want to get projects done while they are stuck in their homes, and this has benefited us. We’ve also seen some increase in new construction projects, which were largely unaffected by the shutdown.”

Texas: (Hearth) “We were closed down by the city of Texas City and the Texas governor on March 16 as being a non-essential business. That was for all of April and the first week in May.”

“Our coronavirus numbers are way up in Texas. Guess bars and people on our beaches are not taking it seriously. They fill the bars shoulder to shoulder and the beaches are packed but they are closing for the Fourth of July – as our numbers go up! The virus keeps some people home. Others don’t want to wear a mask, but we’re getting better on that. The virus is affecting many small businesses.”

Texas: (Patio, BBQ) “Pellet grills are still our number-one seller.”

Texas: (Hearth & BBQ) “I’m so glad the factories shut down, because I sold more grills than ever because .com guys could not deliver and I could. On the other side, I will not stock barbecue grills that are sold online at a cheaper price than retail. It will go back to the old normal as long as manufacturers feel their product is not worthy of their suggested price.”

Texas: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “With the COVID-19 setbacks it looked like the year could be lost (it still could happen), but we could not be happier. Patio products have really boomed since early May. Big tables and sets for the immediate family to gather together. We have ordered like it will continue with trucks and containers on order now when we would normally be focusing on clearance goods from within.

“The great news is we just don’t have much to worry about clearing! All this has been with shorter work days. I feel bad that there are people really suffering from the loss of jobs. We are actually trying to hire one more skilled salesperson and one more tech for the winter season. My concerns with no market will be seeing new products, worrying about ordering in this year, or waiting for new programs. Inflation, tariffs, and price increases could be an issue. Some companies are pro-active and doing a smaller regional display in July. Can’t hibernate forever!”

Virginia: (Hearth, BBQ) “Definitely an unusual June. But, we’ll take it!”

Virginia: (Hearth) “With everything going on (COVID-19, demonstrations, protests, and riots) most folks are not thinking of buying. Fortunately, new-home construction is moving along, but not at the pace of this time last year. Another dealer near me just went out of business within the last month. Hopefully, things will improve shortly.”


Illinois: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “June sales were skewed as some open work orders were closed out too early, and some not yet closed out due to install/supply issues. Barbecue back orders have delayed closing out work orders. Manufacturer’s lack of inventory has hurt some sales, but at the same time has closed other sales because we had the product.”

Illinois: (Patio) “Wow. We re-opened on May 29 and it has been non-stop since. We are fortunate that we deal with a company that is well stocked and so our orders have been shipping quickly. Teak and woven have been the best sellers. We also have cleared out some older floor models. We are hoping that July continues at the same pace.”

Indiana: (Patio, BBQ, Spas) “Unreal, can’t keep up with calls and emails, can’t get product, feel like the hamster on the wheel!”

Indiana: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ, Spas) “Getting back to normal pretty well; closing down after the Fourth of July holiday.”

Iowa: (Hearth, BBQ) “Thankful. Added two more installers. All employees are back.”

Iowa: (Hearth, BBQ) “Second quarter 2019 to second quarter 2020, we are down 11.5%.”

Michigan: (Patio, BBQ) “Due to COVID-19 we missed out on our big push in April 2020 as we were closed. During May we were allowed to open curbside and did manage to gain some sales, but were significantly down for the year. Late May we were able to open our doors and the floodgates opened; we had an uptick of sales and our in-stock sales were up significantly as many of our vendors are currently at eight-plus weeks for custom orders. We are taking full advantage of immediate gratification and encourage people to bring a truck or trailer as our delivery schedule is now booked for several weeks out. We are forecasting to make up our lost numbers in the third quarter.”

Missouri: (Hearth) “June was challenging given the COVID-19 restrictions. The best part was the customers that had to make an appointment to look at fireplaces generally did not shop around, they came in, made up their mind, and ordered. The amount of remodel/retail interest also has us thinking the fall and winter will be big months too.”

Missouri: (Hearth, BBQ) “Hearth product sales are down this year, which is easily explainable. COVID-19 has slowed floor traffic for stoves and fireplaces. On the flip side, barbecue sales are booming. People are cooking at home and focusing on remodeling projects.”

Ohio: (Hearth, BBQ) “We are selling grills faster than they can make them! We are starting to see the supply chain breaking down a little bit for barbecue products, but hearth looks to be holding strong, so far. If it stays that way, this hearth season could be incredible.”

Wisconsin: (Hearth) “Both retail and contractor markets are strong. Active foot traffic in the store.”

Wisconsin: (Hearth) “Business as usual. We expect similar sales this year as last year.”

Wisconsin: (Patio) “We were closed for two months during what is normally our busiest time of year. Once we were able to re-open on May 11, we’ve been crazy busy – and we love it!”

Wisconsin: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “Walk-in trade is very brisk, new construction is still up, lots of plans are still coming in daily, only barbecue grills are off, must be a Big Box thing, patio furniture is very strong.”

Consumer Confidence

The Consumer Confidence Index increased in June, after virtually no change in May. The Index now stands at 98.1 (1985=100), up from 85.9 in May. The Present Situation Index – based on consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions – improved from 68.4 to 86.2. The Expectations Index – based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions – increased from 97.6 in May to 106.0 this month.

“Consumer Confidence partially rebounded in June but remains well below pre-pandemic levels,” said Lynn Franco, senior director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “The re-opening of the economy and relative improvement in unemployment claims helped improve consumers’ assessment of current conditions, but the Present Situation Index suggests that economic conditions remain weak.

“Looking ahead, consumers are less pessimistic about the short-term outlook, but do not foresee a significant pickup in economic activity. Faced with an uncertain and uneven path to recovery, and a potential COVID-19 resurgence, it’s too soon to say that consumers have turned the corner and are ready to begin spending at pre-pandemic levels.”

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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California: (Hearth, BBQ) “With everything that’s going on we are just happy to be alive and well.”

California: (Patio) “We were closed for seven weeks during peak season and have been the busiest ever in 47 years after re-opening. We are down 13% for the year.”

California: (Hearth, Patio) “The COVID-19 closures have most certainly taken huge bites out of the economy. No sector has been spared. Thankfully we have pockets where we make sales – people sheltering in place want to spruce up that place!”

California: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “We are going crazy, lots of people calling for onsite estimates (with sales) and not a lot of foot traffic in the store. We don’t mind how they buy, just as long as they buy! A good majority are mentioning that they want nothing from China. Sounds good to me.”

Colorado: (BBQ) “Would have been better if we could get grills. Best month in our history.”
Nevada: (Hearth, BBQ) “COVID-19 has destroyed a lot of business.”

Oregon: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “Very brisk. Running out of products to sell.”

Washington: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ, Spas) “April was way down. May and June caught back up.”


British Columbia: (Hearth, BBQ) “Lots of quoting on wood – everyone is preparing for the apocalypse.”

British Columbia: (Hearth) “Some interest on the phone, no personal visits, no sales.”

New Brunswick: (Hearth, BBQ) “Our June traffic was up a bit over last June and sales were up 21%. Business is continuing to increase.”

Ontario: (BBQ) “Best June ever! Bars are closed and restaurants available for take-out only. People are eating at home – cooking at home – buying barbecues in record numbers. The social distancing is a challenge – but the rewards are there to be had.”

Ontario: (Hearth) “We are finding that homeowners are now reverting back to wood heating as a primary source (in our semi-rural area), or as a back-up source due to power outages and fluctuations in our area. Our stove sales for the first half of 2020 have exceeded 2019 by a minimum of 10% and we are quoting on more installations and repairs to existing systems every day. We just wish that people would use a WETT-certified installation company when they are getting numerous quotes.

“Small installers like ourselves are getting price beat by the flue-by-nighters. Installing not to code, new units into old troubled systems, non-EPA-rated stoves (bought off the Internet or from a friend) into old chimney systems, etc. etc. No matter what you say to them, they want us to match the contractors/handyman pricing. When we do go out to look at what is there (for an upgrade) they do not like that we look at the “system” and not just the stove to be replaced. Mentalities have to change!”

Ontario: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “After fighting the righteous battle of keeping everybody warm and safe in the first quarter, and dismal supply and demand in the first two months of the second quarter, no Mother’s Day, no Father’s Day, we decided to avoid the frustrating lack of masses and be open by appointment only. Should have done that years ago. Set times, personalized service, online photos – more sun time!”

Ontario: (Hearth) “Recent rules for COVID-19 shelter in place caused an upswing in renovations around people’s homes, including fireplaces.”

Ontario: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “Receiving supplies in a reasonable amount of time seems to be the issue right now. Plenty of customers wanting, but not willing to wait for manufacturers to catch up.”

Quebec: (Patio) “Because of COVID-19 people are staying at home. We carry no inventory and do only special orders. If we had stock our sales (patio furniture) would have been for May and June 300% plus up from 2019.”

Quebec: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ, Spas) “People stayed at home during COVID-19. More sales.”

Stock Watch

    High Low 29-MAY-20 26-JUN-20 4 WEEK 26 WEEK 52 WEEK ($000,000)
Standard & Poor’s 500 (a) S & P 3,386.15 2,237.40 3,044.31 3,009.05 -1.2% -7.1% 2.3%  
HNI Corporation (b) HNI 42.90 16.61 25.47 29.75 16.8% -20.4% -15.9% $1,265.00
Pool Corporation (c) POOL 276.00 160.35 269.02 260.94 -3.0% 22.3% 36.6% $10,750.00
Restoration Hardware (b) RH 268.00 73.14 216.89 254.24 17.2% 18.3% 119.9% $5,000.00
Wayfair, Inc. (b) W 230.61 21.70 171.55 201.94 17.7% 119.3% 38.3% $19,755.00


(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

2020 May Business Climate

In early June, Hearth & Home faxed a survey to 2,500 specialty retailers of hearth, patio, and barbecue products, asking them to compare May 2020 sales to May 2019. The accompanying charts and selected comments are from the 229 useable returns.

» Continue

2020 April Business Climate

In early May, Hearth & Home faxed a survey to 2,500 specialty retailers of hearth, patio, and barbecue products, asking them to compare April 2020 sales to April 2019. The accompanying charts and selected comments are from the 234 useable returns.

» Continue

2020 February Business Climate

In early March, Hearth & Home faxed a survey to 2,500 specialty retailers of hearth, patio, and barbecue products, asking them to compare February 2020 sales to February 2019. The accompanying charts and selected comments are from the 186 useable returns.

» Continue

2020 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 2020 sales to January 2019. The accompanying charts and selected comments are from the 219 useable returns.

» Continue

2019 December Business Climate

In early January, Hearth & Home faxed a survey to 2,500 specialty retailers of hearth, patio, and barbecue products, asking them to compare December 2019 sales to December 2018. The accompanying charts and selected comments are from the 216 usable returns.

» Continue