Retail Sales Surge Again

Lynne M. Centeno

Retail and food service sales surged for a second month, up 7.5% in June after an 18.2% jump in May, as many states came close to fully reopening their economies. The largest sales increases were seen in clothing (105%), electronics and appliances (37%), furniture (32%), sporting goods (27%), department-store sales (20%) and restaurant sales (20%). While the surge is real, the percentages are misleading because they are starting from a small base.

Sales rose above pre-crisis February levels for autos, building materials, groceries, sporting goods and e-commerce items. After socking away more savings in recent months, consumers have cash to spend on big-ticket items such as cars and home improvement projects. Consumers are spending more on goods right now than services, so almost all retail sales categories are benefitting. Folks who are staying home instead of going out are buying groceries and sporting goods equipment instead of going to

Read More

Mixed Outlook for Retail Building Products Amid Coronavirus

Lynne M. Centeno

The Building Products – Retail industry comprises U.S. home improvement retailers, manufactures of industrial and construction materials and distributors of wallboard and ceilings systems. Some of the industry participants also offer products and services for home decoration, repair and remodeling, and in-home delivery and installation services.

The industry players provide a wide array of products, ranging from cement or concrete foundation materials to roofing boards and shingles. The companies also sell lumber, insulation materials, drywall, plumbing fixtures, hard-surface flooring, lawn and garden, and decor products. Some players also deal in threaded fastener products, and manufactured and natural stone tiles. The industry players cater to professional homebuilders, sub-contractors, remodelers and consumers.

Let’s take a look at the industry’s three major themes:

  • The industry’s prospects remain closely tied to U.S. housing market conditions, and repair and remodeling (R&R) activity. The bleak near-term prospects of the housing market amid coronavirus-induced high unemployment and
Read More