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From Home Furnishing Business


By: Sheila Long O'Mara

The latest breakdown of significant numbers and what they mean to the industry. 


  • Number of visitors to Las Vegas through Oct. 2014

Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority


  • Average nightly room rate in Las Vegas

Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority


  • Average daily high temperature in Las Vegas in January



  • The percentage of B2B executives who calculate the ROI on their marketing spend most or all of the time

B2B Marketing

1.2 Million

  • Average number of visits per month Google+ receives

iMedia Connection


  • How much more time spent on Tumblr and Pinterest than Twitter

iMedia Connection


  • Number of CMOs who see custom content as the future of marketing



  • Median home value in the U.S. (through Nov. 2014)



  • Predicted increase in home values next year



  • Internet advertising will make up nearly 25% of the entire ad market in 2015



  • Average cost of a mid-range major kitchen remodel last year

Hanley Wood Co.


  • Number of women who are the principle household shopper

Federal Reserve

Image Matters

A company’s image can make or break its branding strategy.

Both in our personal lives and our businesses, image is a determining factor in our success.

Are you driven? Tenacious? How about helpful and kind? Just how does the world view you?

Take it a step further into the business world.

When you consider your business, what are the key words that pop into your mind? Better yet, what descriptors are your customers likely to evoke when they hear or see your store name?

Nordstrom means service; Walmart means low prices; and FAO Schwarz means fun and smiles. Neither is wrong; neither is right. Each retailer has staked its claim on those priorities, and consumers tend to think in those two directions when the names of Walmart or Nordstrom or FAO Schwarz come up.

In a crowded marketplace, it’s imperative that companies develop ways to connect with consumers all while sharing with them what it is they stand for, what they believe in and the manner in which they conduct business. A clear corporate image can do just that for your company.

Think about the message your share with your customers or potential customers.

Are you telling them you care about the community in which you operate? Are you involved in sponsoring the arts, sporting or other events? Do you promote literacy or give back to the schools with time and funds? Do you support the local United Way campaign?

Note one of these is RIGHT, and not one of them is WRONG. They’re just ideas to churn your brain while you contemplate your company’s image and brand. How should your store brand resonate with your customer?

Branding, imaging, public relations, marketing and advertising all fit together in one big package. Sometimes it’s neat and orderly, and sometimes it gets downright messy. The fact is that you can’t have one with the others and remain successful for very long.

In this our first issue of the new year, we examine the connection between image and branding and all the other pieces of the pie.

A number of experts have weighed in and several retailers have shared their strategies that have been successful.

Here’s to a great 2015 and to all of us boosting our images and brands.

Happy New Year!

That’s Entertainment

The old mantra size matters couldn’t ring more true than in the home entertainment category.

Retailers selling and vendors supplying case pieces and consoles built to accommodate the ever-growing television screens on the market are sure to reap the rewards as consumers continue to upgrade their viewing habits.

The consumer electronics business has been on a steady growth trajectory over the last few years, and forecasts call for the increases to continue.

The Consumer Electronics Association estimates that sales of consumer electronics will close out 2014 with a 2 percent increase to hit record sales of $211.3 billion. Looking ahead to 2015, the association expects industry sales to grow by 1.2 percent, with industry revenues reaching an all-time high of $214 billion.

Televisions remain a key category as vendors continue to evolve their offerings with larger, crisper screens and other relevant features. What does all this mean for the furniture industry?  It could result in a possible boost in home entertainment sales.

Innovations within the television category have brought larger screens and premium displays, which have piqued the interest of consumers and pushed many to upgrade their home video experience.

This year, television sales are expected to reach $18.4 billion. Specifically, ultra HD TVs continue to gain momentum, earning an estimated $1.9 billion by yearend, and the subcategory is expected to top $5 billion next year. Not too shabby for a category that barely existed three years ago.

Lest we’ve put you into a frenzy trying to figure out how to make a connection between televisions and entertainment centers and consoles, here’s a look at what consumers are thinking when it comes to outfitting their home theaters.

In the latest Home Furnishings Business consumer survey including 150 consumers who had purchased home entertainment in the last 12 months, report that size is a consideration when it comes to television screens. In fact, more than half (53.8 percent) said the primary television in their home was between 37 inches and 52 inches. More than a third (36.6 percent) said they own a television that is 55 inches are more.

When asked what size television they would consider purchasing in the next six month to a year, more than a third (34.3 percent) said they’d be in the marketing for 55-inch or larger screen. Just under a third (32.4 percent) said they’d opt for a television between 37 inches and 52 inches.

As televisions have gotten sleeker and sexier, they’ve pushed out the trend of hiding the screen behind closed doors. Armoires our definitely out — check out the products on the next few pages — and open walls and cool consoles are the styles of the day.

The trend meshes well with what our consumer panel shared on their preferences. Hide the television? Consumers said no way with 77 percent saying hiding their television was not important to them in the least. More than 60 percent (63 percent) said they’d prefer to put their flat screen television on top of a console featuring media storage. Just over 26 percent said they’d hang the television on the wall and forego home theater furniture.

Want More?

A more in-depth report on the bedroom category is available for purchase at—Industry Info—Industry Reports—Home Entertainment or by calling Natalia Hurd at (404) 390-1535.

Take 5: Farooq Kathwari

This month's Take 5 poses a few big-picture questions for Ethan Allen CEO Farooq Kathwari. With stores and operations across the world, we thought he'd have a good "global" view of what's coming up next year.

Home Furnishings Business: Are you a Bull or a Bear when it comes to next year's industry forecast? Explain.

Farooq Kathwari: I am an optimist by nature, and I am cautiously optimistic about the industry in general.

The road out of the Great Recession has been a journey of slow but also steady progress. Regardless of which way the economy swings, however, I see a bright green light for Ethan Allen. We are currently introducing hundreds of new products we call The Next Classics that are doing very well with our core clients and also a new generation of shoppers.

We have revamped our online and in-store retailing experiences. We have built upon our unique, vertically integrated business model that has always delivered exceptional quality and value by bringing even more of our manufacturing back into our North American workshops. We are updating and right-sizing our domestic design centers, and taking our message and retail footprint to more and more markets internationally. Ethan Allen is America’s classic design brand, and that’s a timeless idea that travels well, especially today.

HFB: What is the one thing that could make or break next year for the furniture industry?

Kathwari: I don’t think there’s any such thing as one event that makes or breaks an entire industry, whether it’s ours or anyone else’s. The smart players will always anticipate and adjust to change.

Consumer confidence of course is an important criterion we look at. When it's negatively impacted by domestic or international issues, it holds people back from discretionary spending. Having said that, people are impacted, but with so much negative news, they pay attention, but not as much attention.

HFB: Is there anything you've seen on the global economic horizon that the furniture industry should worry about in 2015?

Kathwari: The era of globalization and commoditization has impacted our industry in the last 12 to 15 years. I believe that major changes include more balancing of sourcing.

We are focused on consolidating more and more of our manufacturing back here in North America, building on our strength as America’s classic design brand.  

Global events also relate to consumer confidence. We're confident, though—right now we have 73 locations in China, and in a few days I'm going to the opening of another (Ethan Allen) Design Center in Dubai.

HFB: What kind of reputation do U.S. businesses have around the world?

Kathwari: The reputation is mixed.

On one hand, American business has created major innovations in many areas and has established great operating precedents to follow. On the other hand, short-term focus of being a public company is viewed as not helping create long-term growth. America also reflects in its diversity the microcosms of the world, which brings ideas and people to America.  

All in all, the reputation of American business is good, and that's because of innovation. At Ethan Allen, we've set up operations in Mexico and Honduras, where we established similar environmental and safety standards to those we use in the U.S.

But if you move from country to country to country to get an advantage, the people there start to think you're just a mercenary.

HFB: We're coming out of a contentious mid-term election that tipped the scales in the Republican party's favor to a level we haven't seen since 1994.

Conventional wisdom says election season is bad for retail, but now that this one is over, do you have any thoughts on how the results from Nov. 4 will affect consumer appetites for home furnishings?

Kathwari: I am glad the elections are over, as major and consistent negative advertising impacts on consumer attitudes and confidence. I believe consumers understand home is a “haven” from all the turmoil of the world and to have a happy and a beautiful home is a “luxury” they cannot afford to miss.

The national mood reflects a great desire for the political bodies and executive branch to solve problems rather than work against each other. 



Home Furnishings Business’ 4th Annual Power 50 Ranking


Welcome to the fourth annual Home Furnishings Business Power 50 retail ranking. The retail ranking — our take on how retailers should be ranked — takes into account retail sales volume, social media and market share. This year we made a few changes to better reflect overall performance.

With regard to social media, rankings are influenced by Klout subscribers. If a retailer wasn’t a Klout subscriber, we used Facebook likes and Twitter followers as the criteria. This year, we replaced the popular vote with industry involvement in associations like the National Home Furnishings Association, buying groups like Furniture First or Furniture Marketing Group, as well as organizations like the Furniture Hall of Fame.

We also broadened our net this year by expanding our sample from 1,000 retailers to more than 4,000 retailers under consideration. We expanded our pool by tossing in our subscribers, as well as subscribers to our sister company FurnitureCore and other industry entities.

Information on social media resides in the public marketplace; that’s where that data came from. Retail sales are pulled from industry data and public filings where applicable. We promise we did not use proprietary client information to create the rankings.

Enjoy the lists.

1 RC Willey Home Furnishings Salt Lake City, Utah

2 Nebraska Furniture Mart Omaha, Neb.

3 American Furniture Warehouse Englewood, Colo.

4 Hill Country Holdings New Braunfels, Texas

5 Art Van Furniture Warren, Mich.

6 Raymour & Flanigan Liverpool, N.Y.

7 Gardner White Furniture Co. Auburn Hills, Mich.

8 Mathis Bros. Oklahoma City, Okla.

9 Lacks Valley Stores Pharr, Texas

10 HOM Furniture Coon Rapids, Minn.

11 Rotmans Furniture & Carpet Worcester, Mass.

12 Steinhafels Furniture Waukesha, Wis.

13 Ikea Conshohocken, Pa.

14 Big Sandy/Pieratt’s Franklin Furnace, Ohio

15 Jerome’s Furniture San Diego, Calif.

16 Grand Home Furnishings Roanoke, Va.

17 Levin Furniture Greensburg, Pa.

18 Johnny Janosik Laurel, Del.

19 Wolf Furniture Bellwood, Pa.

20 Jordan’s Furniture East Taunton, Mass.

21 Rooms To Go Seffner, Fla.

22 Miskelly Furniture Jackson, Miss.

23 Sheely’s Furniture & Appliance North Lima, Ohio

24 American Home Showplace Dalton, Ga.

25 City Furniture Tamarac, Fla

26 Broad River Furniture Charlotte, N.C.

27 El Dorado Furniture Miami, Fla.

28 Slumberland Little Canada, Minn.

29 Weekends Only St. Louis, Mo.

30 Sam Levitz Furniture Tucson, Ariz.

31 Wayside Furniture Akron, Ohio

32 Cardi’s Furniture/Matt ress Plus Swansea, Mass.

33 Gallery Furniture Houston, Texas

34 Royal Furniture Memphis, Tenn.

35 Ashley Furniture HomeStore Arcadia, Wis.

36 Kane’s Furniture Pinellas Park, Fla.

37 The Old Cannery Furniture Sumner, Wash.

38 Olum’s Vestal, N.Y.

39 Dufresne Spencer Goup Memphis, Tenn.

40 Bernie & Phyl’s Furniture Norton, Mass.

41 Home Furniture Lafayett e, La.

42 Walker Furniture Las Vegas, Nev.

43 Bob Mills Furniture Co. Oklahoma City, Okla.

44 Mor Furniture for Less San Diego, Calif.

45 Furniture Enterprises of Alaska Anchorage, Alaska

46 Bob’s Discount Furniture Manchester, Conn.

47 Woodley’s Fine Furniture Longmont, Colo.

48 Gardiners Furniture Baltimore, Md.

49 Story & Lee Furniture Leoma, Tenn.

50 Morris Furniture Fairborn, Ohio


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