From Home Furnishing Business
Where is My "Upstick"?
The excitement of the election is in the distant past even though the media continues to do replays of what happened. With some degree of optimism we forecasted a modest increase of 4.5% for 2017. Historically, with the exception of 2008, the year after an election has been an improvement over the election year.
After getting off to a slow start in January, President’s Day was a bright spot. March has been all right, but not a barn burner. All the soft data – consumer confidence, stock market indices, and manufacturer’s sentiment are very positive. Unfortunately, the hard data continues to show the slow, but steady growth that has been the case for the past five years. The upturn in housing starts/home sales sputtered a little in January/February with the increase in interest rates. However, the first time home buyers continued to participate,which is key to industry performance.
As an industry we should all continue our optimism. I believe that barring an international event we will achieve the forecasted growth. However, with this optimism we should take a hard look at the underlying value of our industry, specifically what the consumer is willing to pay. In the past six years all home furnishing prices have continued to decline with furniture and bedding leading the way. Why does the consumer not value our product when compared to other consumer products?
The answer cannot be to allow quality to deteriorate. Or is it that what the consumer wants is disposable furniture? Our future is not bright if this is the case.