INDEPENDENCE, OH - According to a recent study by Longbow Research, Independence, OH, the month of June showed an improvement in architectural paint sales at big-box and mass-merchant retailers as do-it-yourself (DIY) customers returned. The company researched PPG’s architectural paint retail channel, which includes contacts at Lowe’s, Menards and PPG Network stores, regarding sales, inventories, promotions and prices. The research showed continuing seasonal improvement in demand in June with 75 percent of contacts reporting month-over-month increases in sales. Year-over-year comparisons showed improvement, as only 18 percent of contacts saw a decrease in year-over-year sales in June, compared to 47 percent who reported an increase in sales versus the prior year. The results show improvement when compared to May, when 39 percent of contacts reported an increase in sales and 31 percent reported a decline. According to the research, mass merchants and big-box retailers did modestly better than specialized paint stores, as these stores primarily target contractors and continue to suffer negative impact from the weakness in the residential construction market. The PPG Network, comprised of approximately 440 company-owned stores, continued to struggle in June with nearly one-third of contacts seeing year-over-year declines. Results at Sherwin-Williams stores also showed weakness in June with 47 percent seeing lower volumes compared to the prior year.