For Immediate Release
Contact: Pamela Rucker/Sarah Scheuer (202) 783-7971
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Weakness In Furniture and Home Furnishings Stores Drag Down GAF Sales --
Washington, DC, March 13, 2001 – February proved to be a difficult month for retailers as they faced major challenges on two fronts – fighting against natural factors such as cold weather, storms, and floods, and continuing to battle the slowing economy, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). NRF noted that weakness at furniture and home furnishings stores dragged down the GAF category (general merchandise, apparel, furniture and home furnishings). Sales at these stores dropped 1.9 percent seasonally adjusted and 5.5 percent year-to-year.
“This type of behavior is typical during periods of economic slowdown or recession, when big-ticket durable goods are impacted the most,” said NRF Chief Economist Rosalind Wells. “In addition, the stock market is experiencing a weakening and consumer confidence continues to slip. All of these factors have caused consumers to become more cautious in their spending.”
GAF sales and total retail sales both declined 0.2 percent seasonally adjusted from January to February. According to Wells, GAF sales were up only 0.6 percent year-over-year -- the smallest increase since March 1992. Sales at general merchandise stores and apparel specialty stores rose 0.3 percent in February. On a year-to-year basis, general merchandise store sales increased 2.4 percent and apparel specialty store sales rose 3.7 percent.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) is the world`s largest retail trade association with membership that comprises all retail formats and channels of distribution including department, specialty, discount, catalog, Internet and independent stores. NRF members represent an industry that encompasses more than 1.4 million U.S. retail establishments, employs more than 20 million people -- about 1 in 5 American workers -- and registered 2000 sales of nearly $3.2 trillion. NRF’s international members operate stores in more than 50 nations. In its role as the retail industry`s umbrella group, NRF also represents 32 national and 50 state associations in the U.S. as well as 36 international associations representing retailers abroad.
For more information about NRF, visit our web site at www.nrf.com.