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Trade News

Each day TFO Canada publishes a sample of trade news on the Canadian import market along with any new, updated or changed regulations and legislations regarding international trade; countries in which TFO Canada offers services and on the export sectors which it promotes.


Canadian furniture store sales: back to where they were

Wednesday, April 27, 2016 > 09:58:24

(Home Goods Online)

It was a long time coming, six years in fact for Canadian furniture stores to climb back to where they were when the economy went sideways in 2008. That finally happened in 2015. What many people inside the industry don’t realise is furniture store sales actually grew in each of the past four years, beginning in 2012.

Furniture stores – which Statistics Canada defines as brick-and-mortar retail establishments whose sales of furniture, including mattresses, account for at least 51% of its annual revenue – across the country had sales of $10.7 billion in 2015, 6.1% higher than the $10.0 billion recorded for 2014. Indeed, this was a new record high, smashing the $10.2 billion mark set in 2008.

Indeed, 2015’s annual growth rate of 6.1% hasn’t been seen at all in recent years and was the result, most pundits agree of a number of external economic factors including a buoyant housing market in British Columbia and Ontario, combined with continued low interest rates and the Canadian consumer’s apparent willingness to take on record levels of debt.

Furniture stores also showed themselves to be one of the fastest growing retail sectors tracked by Statistics Canada in 2015. Indeed, most economists noted retail itself was a key driver of the overall Canadian economy last year. Growth in what the agency describes as location-based retail helped offset declines in other sectors such as oil production and other resource-based commodities.

However, it should be noted furniture stores didn’t carve themselves a bigger piece of the retail pie last year. Their share of retail store sales remained at a steady 3.2%, with Statistics Canada reporting all retail store sales – less the automotive sector – climbed 3.6% to $332.4 billion in 2015. As has been customary over the past few years, the auto sector (including new and used car dealers plus automotive parts and service) was retail’s growth leader with sales of $128.3 billion, up 7.1% over the $119.7 billion rung-up in 2014.

Another factor many observers believe helped boost overall retail was the declining cost of gasoline, with gas station revenues falling 14% last year – reflecting the drop in world oil prices to levels not seen in over a decade.

Regionally speaking

An analysis of the data published by Statistics Canada reveals some 89% of all furniture store sales are made in four provinces: Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia, which not coincidentally are the four largest provinces in terms of both population and economic power.

Ontario, this country’s largest province in terms of both population and size of economy accounted for 37.3% of all furniture store sales in 2015 – which is fairly close its average share-of-market over the past few years. Every major player on the furniture retailing scene, with the sole exception of BMTC Group, has a presence in Ontario.

Last year, Ontario furniture stores had sales of $3.97 billion, a 9.6% advance over the $3.64 billion sold in 2014. This was unsurprising to most observers who noted Ontario is one of the two really hot housing markets in Canada that has seen at least some of its manufacturing capability bounce back over the past year or two, thanks to a weakened Canadian dollar that dropped to flirt with the 70-cent U.S. mark for much of the latter half of 2015.

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