Austrian home improvement sector continues to grow

Home improvement retailers in Austria recorded total gross sales amounting to EUR 2.56 bn in fiscal 2018. This is equivalent to growth of 1.4 per cent, with like-for-like sales increasing by 1.3 per cent. The market figures, based on the latest market data of GfK, were reported by the industry association for the German-speaking countries, the BHB. As in Germany, retail performance was heavily impacted by the weather.
Performance in the individual categories was particularly heterogeneous in 2018. DIY and home improvement stores achieved their highest sales with the construction chemistry/building materials ranges (EUR 354.9 mio), plumbing/heating (EUR 217 mio), garden equipment (EUR 174.4 mio), household goods (EUR 163.1 mio) and tools/machinery (EUR 161.5 mio).
Looking at how the ranges fared compared with the previous year, growth was distributed over a large number of categories, with increased sales recorded in two thirds of the 22 categories.
The categories driving growth proved to be interesting: the top three were furniture (+10.8 per cent), wood (+7.1 per cent) and automotive (+6.6 per cent). There were no dramatic declines in sales in 2018, although the product groups of construction components (-2.8 per cent), plumbing (-1.8 per cent) and living/decoration (-1.7 per cent) suffered a modest downturn.