Wednesday, July 9, 2008

After Soft April, Dealer Sales Rebound in May

After a slump during April, dealers' kitchen and bath sales rebounded during May, according to the NKBA's Business Barometer Survey. Dealers reported an average of 15.9 kitchen sales for the month, up from 9.2 sales in April. About 22% said sales were higher than at this time last year, but 57.0% thought sales were lower. Average kitchen price reported was $27,241, up from $25,873 in April.

Dealers closed an average of 10.1 bathroom sales in May, up from 6.2 in April. Some 21.3% of those dealers responding thought bath sales were higher than at this time last year, but 41.3% said they were lower.

Dealers averaged 27.9 prospects in their showrooms in May, up from 27.1 in April.

Some 46.3% of dealers polled say they expect sales to go higher over the next six months compared o the previous six; just 30.0% saw lower sales volume ahead. More than half of dealers polled will be keeping the number of employees they have as-is; 13.3% plan to hire new employees, but 16.9% expect to lay employees off.

"Costs of doing business are up, sales are down; in the last two years the pie is getting smaller and there are more competitors looking for a slice. Our margins have dropped 23% from last year," said one respondent. Said another, "The economy is horrible. The banks are not lending money, consumers cannot get credit and everything seems to be upside down."

"People are wanting to redo their kitchens and baths but holding back a bit for now," one dealer added, while another said simply, "Worst economic times I've seen in twenty plus years."

However, another noted, "Stable higher end clients are still doing projects because their homes and life style have even greater importance."

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