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From Home Furnishing Business

Editor’s Note: And Now for the Rest of the Story

by Bob George,

In the first quarter of 2020 the industry shuttered, not knowing what to expect. It was painfully obvious with shuttered stores and people sheltered in place that it was not going to be good. Owners that had survived through the Great Recession and other previous downturns were suddenly without an action plan.

The graphic below documents the turmoil in recent history. As can be seen from historical trends, the pandemic was kind to our industry with increased sales. While the graphic is somewhat misleading in that a significant part of the increase was price increases driven by materials and transportation, the sale volume was real in terms of dollar, if not units. The fact is after the initial surge there was not a flood of consumers that returned to the store, but roughly the same number of buying groups (Ups) that were more intent on buying (close rate) even at higher prices (average ticket). The graphic below illustrates the store traffic since January 2020.

Now we are entering a new time with talk of a recession or worse. This time it looks like a normal downturn with consumers disappearing from the store, as can be seen from the same graphic as below but showing the decline from January 2022. Recession? ------- Read the Statistically Speaking article in this issue: STORM CLOUDS OVERHEAD AS INDUSTRY SLOWS. Also we are working on the September/October: STATE OF THE INDUSTRY which will include our forecast. No matter what occurs, the most important defense is your team. Many of who should be in our FORTY UNDER 40 feature.


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