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From Home Furnishing Business

What Sells: Cool Occasions

Today’s occasional category has seen an expansion from end tables and coffee tables into the realm of bench seating, consoles, and quirky accent pieces. With a style and function for all, this broad category offers your customer a solution for their multiple needs. A study conducted by FurnitureCore, Inc., the research arm of Home Furnishings Business, shows that this category is a strong sector of the industry with 18.18% of total sales originating here. When retailers are looking for an easy way to capture a sale or increase their average ticket, especially in these new and uncertain times, occasional furniture is a good place to turn.

The many sales tactics that can be utilized, such as selling as part of a seating group or as an individual cash-and-carry sale, will help captivate your customer—but merchandising will be key. As the industry continues to see the growth of Generation X and Millennials as the target audience, retailers will need to shake up their merchandising assortment to reflect their style. Manufacturer Durham Furniture has developed thoughtful solutions for retailers in their bestselling, customizable collection.

“Our contemporary-styled Milestone Collection was designed to reach the next generation of consumers and the interior design community,” said Luke Simpson, president and chief executive officer of Durham Furniture. “The style and design is more in-tune with what the younger generation of consumers are looking for and the mixed media look gives our design partners the diversity in texture and materials that they often seek when designing more contemporary spaces. The group is available in any of Durham’s more than 50 finishes, allowing our customers to express their individual style, a key selling point and benefit of our products on the retail sales floor.” Durham Furniture is not the only manufacturer that embraces the power of customization. Especially in our current climate that is grappling with the realities of newly implemented tariffs compounded by the ongoing Coronavirus wreaking havoc on manufacturing and shipping, American made furniture has found additional momentum. “Simply Amish makes a lot of occasionals, and on our Standard Order end tables, most can be raised or lowered up to 6” without a custom quote,” says Charles Curry, vice president of sales and strategy of Simply Amish. “American made occasional pieces, especially with custom options, are as hard to find as a white buffalo.”

When consumers walk onto the retail sales floor, what are they anticipating for their occasional furniture purchase? While the fastest growing section of occasional furniture is accent furniture, which includes bars, breakfronts, and the like growing 7.1% and exceeding the overall growth of the occasional category at 5.6%, we analyzed the general style that consumers are searching for. According to the same FurnitureCore, Inc. study, when consumers were asked what the style of their most recent occasional table purchase was, a tie was found between traditional and contemporary at 32.47%, followed at 15.58% by country/rustic. The remaining responses where European at 9.10%, mission/shaker at 5.19%, and transitional at 5.19%.



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