Posted by: Diane Capuano
The worst may be over for independent paint and decorating stores, whose sales figures are showing improving in comparison with recent downward sales movement that has plagued the industry for the past couple years.
According to sales figures gathered by the Paint & Decorating Retailers Association, total sales through independent paint and decorating retailers showed slight improvement, down only six-tenths of a percent from the previous year, compared to minus 4.8 percent at the end of the first quarter. Window coverings and wallcoverings were the only product groups not showing improvement over the first quarter. Canadian retailers reported declines in all categories except wallcovering, resulting in a 5.9 percent loss overall.
Still causing challenges for paint and decorating retail store owners is an apprehensive consumer mindset, reflected in a Consumer Confidence Index (as reported by the Conference Board) that has been holding at around 50 or 60. This is a definite improvement over the low reached in February 2009, but it’s still not a positive report.
Another challenge is the housing market, with new housing starts at 600,000 units, which is only 26 percent of the level they were in January 2006. Used home sales also are down, standing at 2 million units, which is off the high mark of 7.3 million that was posted in 2005. While mortgage levels remain at near-record lows, high unemployment coupled with low consumer confidence, wage cuts and tight lending practices, are weakening the housing market. The advantage of low mortgage rates also has been offset by the expiration of the housing market tax credits, which ended April 30 and had given a temporary boost to the market.
Paint and decorating market sales figures come from the quarterly Pulse Report, which is a product of the PDRA Market Research Center. Click here for a full report.
Tags: Paint Industry Research