Retail Survey Notes Improving Outlook

Retail Survey Notes Improving Outlook

Retail mattress sales were down 5% in dollars and 11% in units in September, but the fourth quarter bedding outlook is improving.

Piper Sandler’s September Mattress Retailer Survey reported an 8% mean decline in dollar sales in the third quarter, a “notable improvement” over a double-digit decline in the second quarter. And it said that retailers are now estimating their fourth quarter sales to be down by a mean of 4%, “an improvement from the previous two months.”

The New York-based firm surveys mattress retailers around the country for its monthly sales reports.

The 5% mean dollar decline in September came on the heels of an 11% dollar decline in August and an 11% dollar decline in July.

Piper Sandler said the 5% dollar decline in September “suggests a notable drop-off for the second half of September following the Labor Day weekend,” which saw flat sales on a mean basis.

The average unit price in September increased by a mean of 9%.

The firm also asked retailers a number of other questions about their business, including one about financing and another about adjustable bed bases.

Retailers reported a mean of 35% of their dollar sales used financing in the third quarter, “a modest uptick” from the second quarter, which itself saw an uptick from the first quarter. “While this might have been somewhat expected,” Piper Sandler says in its report, “it gives some indication that the consumer is becoming more dependent on credit.”

On adjustable bed bases, the September survey found that retailers said a mean of 23% of their mattress sales also include an adjustable base, a figure that is in line with previous surveys. For premium brands, Piper Sandler added, it believes the adjustable bed attachment rate is closer to 50%.