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Factoids offer brief snapshots of current topics pertinent to the Furniture industry based on our on-going research. Increase your grasp of current trends, consumer attitudes, and shifts within the industry through solid statistics and concise insight.

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The Changing Retail Landscape: Growth and Decline of Furniture Stores

The retail landscape has evolved over the last ten years and continues to shift as more brick and mortar stores shutter their doors amid a growing e-commerce industry.

This is the second factoid in a series of five factoids detailing the dramatic shifts in the furniture industry’s distribution channels, taking place in both sales and in-store counts. The U.S. became over-stored in many channels during the 1990’s and early 2000’s as developers kept building shopping centers and companies continued opening retail outlets.

The number of furniture stores peaked in 2007 at 27,630, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since that time brick and mortar furniture stores fell to 22,052 store fronts this year. This 20.2 percent total decline or annual CAGR of 2 percent loss represents the largest decrease of all the key channels 2007 to 2018 Q1. The announced closing of 700 Mattress Firm stores will result in another 3 percent decline. Home furnishings stores did not fare much better, falling 19.4 percent in number over the 10 plus years, but showed a slight uptick in the first quarter of this year of 0.3 percent.

During the same time period 2007 to 2018 Q1 pure electronic shopping and mail order houses surged by 100.9 percent or 6.5 percent annual growth.

Warehouse stores and supercenters (i.e. Costco, Wal-Mart, and Target) peaked in number two years ago in 2016 at 6,073 locations and have gradually closed 1.1 percent of the stores over the last 15 months. Department stores (i.e. Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Kohl’s, TJ Maxx) as a group also showed strong signs of post-recession recovery, increasing the number of stores by 22.5 percent (2007 to 2015) before a catastrophic closing of 14.5 percent of stores in just over two years. Electronics and appliances stores, the largest distribution channel in number, along with home centers (i.e. Home Depot, Lowes’s) continued to remove stores throughout the recession and after, maintaining an average annual decline of 1 percent and 2 percent, respectively. At one time the electronics and appliances stores totaled 53,343 but now number 45,351 in 2018 Q1.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages

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Fast Fact: Furniture Store Fronts Dropped 20%, 2007 to 2018
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