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Hearth & Home April 2018

2018 February Business Climate

February Sales

In early March Hearth & Home faxed a survey to 2,500 specialty retailers of hearth, patio and barbecue products, asking them to compare February 2018 sales to February 2017. The accompanying charts and selected comments are from the 172 useable returns.

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Weather Report

Consumer Confidence

Stock Watch


February 2018 vs. February 2017

In February, about half (49%) of Hearth retailers were UP; 50% of Spa dealers were also UP.

February 2018 vs. February 2017

In February, sales of Spas were UP 25%, Hearth products were UP 10%, and Patio and Barbecue products were UP, respectively, 5% and 4%.


January 1 – February 28, 2018

For the period January 1 to February 28, 2018, 66% of Hearth retailers are UP, 54% of Spa retailers are UP, 22% of Patio retailers are UP, and 20% of Barbecue retailers are UP.


January 1 – February 28, 2018

Year-to-date, Spa retailers are UP 19%, Hearth retailers are UP 13%, Patio retailers are UP 8%, and Barbecue retailers are UP 3%.

Retailer Comments


Connecticut: (Hearth) “Nice increase from last year. Hope this trend continues this year.”

Delaware: (Hearth, BBQ) “Sales were up January and February, but since sales were down so much in 2016 and 2017 the numbers would be completely skewed.”

Maine: (Hearth) “Better than last year. Last year was good.”

Maine: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “February was off which is not uncommon for us. Year-to-date is up over last year and spring job starts are encouraging!”

Maryland: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ, Spas) “Colder wetter winter, hearth was up, patio and grills down.”

Massachusetts: (Hearth) “Overall sales were slightly down, but we were more profitable. Installation schedule is very strong for March. Spring looks to be good.”

New Jersey: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “Great start this year! Always thankful.”

New York: (Hearth) “We had a relatively warm February but we sold more hearth products this year than last. Here on Long Island customers seem to be happier dealing with a small family business than the large Box stores. I hope this catches on.”

Pennsylvania: (Hearth) “Gross sales may be down, but net profit was up 3%.”

Pennsylvania: (Hearth, BBQ) “Having all four seasons in one month made it an interesting combination of hearth, barbecue and chimney repair inquiries.”

Weather Report

For the following weather charts, the numbers for each state reflects the temperature and percipitation rankings for the period since records began in 1895.

In February, Record Warmest temperatures were set in eight states – Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

In the three-month period from December to February, six western states posted Much Above Average temperatures – California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico.

In February, the states of Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas and Tennessee all logged a Record Wettest month.

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Arkansas: (Hearth) “Tough retail month primarily due to rainy weather. It rained 50% of the days in February. Business got very quiet and boring. Bring out the sun!”

North Carolina: (Hearth) “Due to NO trainable help and management that has been out sick more than in – it may just be time to call it quits. We will let you know if we close, but we have always enjoyed your publication. Thank You.”

Oklahoma: (Hearth) “Finally received some moisture.”

Oklahoma: (Hearth) “Actually looking forward to a bit slower pace as January and February have been very busy. Bigger remodel type jobs are the key currently.”

Texas: (BBQ) “Ceramic and gas grills are flat. Pellet grills are selling.”

Texas: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “We actually had some winter. It helps to have several days below freezing. All the transplants see that we can actually have a use for hearth products. I believe the carry-over of sales for next season will be felt.”

Virginia: (Hearth, BBQ) “It was a very busy month. Slow then busy, back and forth the entire month of February.”


Illinois: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “It was a really cold and snowy February.”

Indiana: (Patio, BBQ, Spas) “We had a large amount of snow and then the big rain came and then we had major flooding in our area, so February was a bust for the store except for winter cover pump sales.”

Michigan: (Hearth, Spas) “Business bottomed out just before the Christmas holidays and it’s been in the tank ever since.”

Missouri: (Hearth, BBQ) “Sales were fairly soft until the very end of the month. Cold weather slowed barbecue sales.”

Wisconsin: (Patio) “Our store is not officially open in February but we did have a couple small sales.”

Wisconsin: (Hearth) “Both retail and builder markets are strong. Wood performance fireplaces are stronger than historical demand for early building season.”

Wisconsin: (Hearth) “This has been an unbelievable year, it’s only March 8, but wow, never seen a February like this in 30 years. New construction is up. Sales and walk-in trade very good. Still looking for help. Hope this keeps up. People are waiting six to eight weeks to get products installed. High-end fireplaces are what’s selling. Wood and gas are strong but pellet is flat.”

Wisconsin: (Hearth, Spas) “Sold a bunch of units in a ten day period, then dropped to nothing.”

Wisconsin: (Hearth, BBQ) “Great month! We had some sales in February that should have happened in January. When I look at the two months combined sales are up. We are adding a new employee starting on Monday. With his background checks, abilities, and interviews, we are cautiously excited. Looking forward to training him in.”

Consumer Confidence

The Consumer Confidence Index, increased in February, following a modest increase in January. The Index now stands at 130.8 (1985=100), up from 124.3 in January.

“Consumer confidence improved to its highest level since 2000 (November 2000, 132.6) after a modest increase in January,” said Lynn Franco, director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ assessment of current conditions was more favorable this month, with the labor force the main driver. Despite the recent stock market volatility, consumers expressed greater optimism about short-term prospects for business and labor market conditions, as well as their financial prospects. Overall, consumers remain quite confident that the economy will continue expanding at a strong pace in the months ahead.”

A reading above 90 indicates the economy is on solid footing; above 100 signals strong growth. The Index is based on a probability-design random sample conducted for The Conference Board by The Nielsen Company.

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Nevada: (Hearth, BBQ) “What a great country.”

Washington: (Hearth) “Warmer this February 2018.”


British Columbia: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ, Spas) “Despite persistent colder than normal weather we had an awesome month. Up everywhere except barbecue which held its own versus last year. Way up in sales (54%) year-over-year and looking good for March and April.”

Ontario: (Patio) “The U.S. to Canadian exchange rate is brutal and tough to deal with. Also manufacturers selling to anybody and everybody, no loyalty.”

Ontario: (Hearth, Patio, BBQ) “February was just like January. Both months up over 75%. No rhyme nor reason, just dumb luck – gotta plan a better March vacation now.”

Ontario: (Hearth, BBQ) “Wow, February was flat! Hardly any sales, people still coming in but waiting to buy.”

Ontario: (Hearth) “We usually look at January/February as one period, usually one is an ok month the other is weak. Last year both were good months, so it is not surprising we were down a bit.”

Stock Watch

    High Low 2-Feb-18 2-Mar-18 4 WEEK 26 WEEK 52 WEEK ($000,000)
Standard & Poor’s 500 (a) S & P 2,872.87 2,328.94 2,762.13 2,691.25 -2.6% 8.7% 13.0%  
HNI Corporation (b) HNI 48.32 31.16 37.68 37.44 -0.6% 0.8% -18.7% $1,490.00
Pool Corporation (c) POOL 150.26 97.25 132.49 142.46 7.5% 41.3% 22.4% $5,220.00
Restoration Hardware (b) RH 109.53 65.65 92.04 80.25 -12.8% 65.4% 157.2% $2,170.00
Wayfair, Inc. (b) W 100.14 35.45 90.78 80.34 -11.5% 10.9% 120.9% $6,320.00


(a) = Standard & Poor’s 500 is based on the market capitalizations of 500 large companies having common stock listed on the NYSE or NASDAQ. It is considered one of the best representations of the U.S. stock market, and a bellwether for the U.S. economy.
(b) = New York Stock Exchange
(c) = NASDAQ

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More Industry Data

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In early November, Hearth & Home faxed a survey to 2,500 specialty retailers of hearth, patio, and barbecue products, asking them to compare October 2018 sales to October 2017. The accompanying charts and selected comments are from the 232 useable returns.

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In early October, Hearth & Home faxed a survey to 2,500 specialty retailers of hearth, patio, and barbecue products, asking them to compare September 2018 sales to September 2017. The accompanying charts and selected comments are from the 2,003 useable returns.

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In early September, Hearth & Home faxed a survey to 2,500 specialty retailers of hearth, patio, and barbecue products, asking them to compare August 2018 sales to August 2017. The accompanying charts and selected comments are from the 196 useable returns.

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In early August, Hearth & Home faxed a survey to 2,500 specialty retailers of hearth, patio, and barbecue products, asking them to compare July 2018 sales to July 2017. The accompanying charts and selected comments are from the 193 useable returns.

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