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NPD Reports Home Appliance Holiday Sales Show Signs of Hope

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Promotions and Value are Key Factors in Sales Growth

Port Washington, New York, February 8, 2010 - According to leading market research company, The NPD Group, Inc., both major and small appliance sales posted positive dollar and unit sales figures in the fourth quarter (October – December) of 2009, compared to fourth quarter (Q4) 2008.

Both unit and dollar sales for major appliances were up five and a half percent over Q4 2008, according to NPD’s consumer tracking service.  Dishwashers, microwaves, and washing machines all fared particularly well in terms of unit sales, with microwaves, dishwashers, and refrigerators (excluding compacts) each garnering double-digit dollar growth.

Refrigerators (excluding compacts), the largest of the major appliance categories, were up 10 percent, top mount models increased 21 percent, and French door and bottom mount refrigerators were up an impressive 33 and 37 percent respectively, generating the largest dollar growth among refrigerator types. Microwave sales posted an 18 percent increase in dollars, while dishwashers increased by 16 percent in Q4 2009.

“This clearly demonstrates the positive results achieved by many retailers featuring major appliances in their Black Friday ads,” said Mark Delaney, director of NPD’s home division. “In many cases appliances were used as ‘door buster specials’, something that has only started to happen in the past two years. Also, increases in sales of appliances that consumers report as being more replacement in nature, like dishwashers, bodes well for appliance, retailers, and manufacturers alike in the upcoming year,” said Delaney.

Small appliances did just as well as major appliances in the retail sector, garnering a four percent increase in dollar sales and a six percent increase in unit sales, versus Q4 2008, according to NPD’s consumer tracking service.

Small kitchen electrics fared particularly well, with dollar sales up 14 percent and unit sales up 20 percent in Q4 2009. Upright vacuums, drip coffeemakers, and heaters were the top three small appliance categories (based on dollar sales) in Q4 2009, compared to Q4 2008.

Average selling prices were down two percent across small appliances with the largest declines being noticeable in small kitchen electrics, which declined five percent. Home environment products stayed relatively flat, down one percent in average price overall, while personal care prices declined almost three percent.

There were a few categories that managed average selling price increases. Among the top categories to note were coffee/espresso makers with a 20 percent increase in average selling price, home hair clippers, up 17 percent, and canister vacuums with a nine percent price increase.

“Overall, these results are indicators that the economy and appliance industry are moving back in a positive direction, but consumers are a bit slow to accept the idea that the recession is ending, if not over,” said Peter Goldman, president of NPD’s home division. “Consumers remain cautious in their spending, looking at lower price options, but the key is to provide them with products that ultimately give them a sense of value,” said Goldman.

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