From Home Furnishing Business
State of the Industry
As with the nation, the constant question is, “When will we get out of the morass?” Finally in 2012, industry sales for furniture and bedding reached 2008 levels only to inch forward, with 2015 finally seeing growth above 5%. The excitement was short-lived with growth slowing below 4% with the most recent quarter below 2%.
The forecast that follows shows a rebound to 4.5%, which is in line with others in the industry. However, I must admit that our forecast was done a week before the Presidential Election, with the expectation of the results baked in.
Since the election, we have reviewed our forecast and cannot find any justifiable reason to modify it. We share this predicament with others. The anticipated drop in the stock market happened, but reversed within 48 hours. Mortgage rates have increased because of uncertainty, which will impact our industry, but not as much as consumer confidence.
As a nation, the consumer population is segmented into age groups that are buying furniture and those that are out of the market. In fact, many demographic groups have not returned since the great recession.
Obviously, the promise of doubling the GDP with new job growth is music to our ears, but what action will produce this change?
The thought of tariffs on imported goods, whether the Far East or Mexico, will impact distribution. Does this signal the return of domestic production? If so, where will the capital investment come from for the new plants? More importantly, from where will the workers come?
There are more questions than answers. What is sure is that the facts are real. As a magazine serving the industry, we are committed to understanding and informing.