From Home Furnishing Business
Editor's Letter: It’s Time for the Sprint
by Bob George,
In this month’s feature article, the graphic on page 9 illustrates the mouthwatering consumer response to the pandemic in regard to consumer spending in furniture and bedding. After falling off the cliff in March and roaring back in May, the consumer continued spending. Through September, furniture and bedding expenditures have exceeded 2019 for the same period by 4.6%. Traditional furniture retailers, those stores that sell more than 70% of their revenue in furniture, experienced the same gut wrenching fall and exhilaration of demand that followed. But now that this segment is returning to normal, they are fi nding that their top line is short. In fact, nationally about 11% short for furniture stores.
The obvious question is, “What happened to furniture stores’ share of the rebound?” The answer is that it is in the BACKLOG. At the end of September, on average, stores had a 10-15% backlog. In other words, you just need to ship.
You just thought to yourself, “easier said than done.” While enduring all that the last six months has delivered you need to sprint to the fi nish line to make your year. The task of securing merchandise while minimizing cancellations will be more of a challenge than coping with the shutdown and subsequent reopening. Finding and motivating a workforce will increase in diffi culty. However, the industry is up to the challenge. While facing this challenge, we should consider why the other distribution channels that have a 52% share of market already have recouped last year’s shipments and more. A topic for further discussion.