Independent paint and decorating retailers put a bow on 2012 with a positive fourth quarter that gave them an overall sales increase of 4.1 percent when compared to 2011.
The strongest sales came from the window coverings category, which was up 7.7 percent when comparing 2012 to 2011. Paint and sundries performed between 4 and 5 percent better than last year, while wallcoverings’ was the lone decliner with a 2.3 percent decrease in sales for the year.
Total sales for the fourth quarter were up 3.5 percent, led by a double-digit increase in window covering sales for the quarter. Paint and sundries did well, too, with fourth-quarter sales increases of 4 percent and 5.1 percent respectively.
Northeast and South continued to post the best sales results (in the range of 5.2 to 6.2 percent) when looking at the fourth quarter and the year as a whole. The Midwest was just a couple percentage points off the pace, while the West was barely in positive territory for the fourth quarter and the year. Canada had a setback in the fourth quarter, posting a decline of 2.5 percent in comparison to fourth quarter 2011. However, Canada still ended on the up side for the year, with a 1.9 percent increase for 2012 over 2011.
New housing starts continue to be a positive barometer for sales, inching up to just below 1 million units for December 2012. If the current trend line continues, new housing starts will be back up to 2 million units in about three years, which will match the housing industry’s robust 2005 levels.
The Pulse Report is a product of PDRA Market Research. View the full report here.