Charting the Progress of Survival, Furniture and Home Furnishings Stores
In what’s considered by many as the ‘Retail Apocalypse,’ retail store closings in 2019 are on pace to exceed closings in 2018. According to a report from investment banking firm UBS, an estimated 75,000 stores that sell clothing, electronics and furniture will close by 2026. This is the second factoid in a series of five factoids that studies a March 2019 report from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Statistics of U.S. Business, shining the light on challenges furniture and home furnishings stores have faced over the last 10+ years and continue to face going forward.
The heaviest decline in both furniture and home furnishings stores occurred between 2007 and 2012. Furniture store locations dropped 18.8% during that period from 27,386 stores to 22,201. Meanwhile home furnishings stores fell 22.5% from 33,787 stores in 2007 to 26,184 in 2012. Furniture stores declined another 0.9% from 2012 to 2016, while home furnishings stores lost 5.3% more stores. Overall, from 2007 to 2016, the number of furniture store locations decreased by 19.6% and 26.5% for home furnishings stores.
Partnered with store closings is loss of store employees. For both furniture and home furnishings stores, the largest decline in the number of employees occurred in 2009 – a drop of 13.1% and 17.9%, respectively. Decreasing the number of employees steadily from 2007 to 2012, employees in furniture stores diminished by 28.4%, while home furnishings stores cut employees by 29.8%. Both furniture and home furnishings stores had employee growth from 2012 to 2016 as furniture stores increased employees by 7.9% and home furnishings stores by 5.7%. And though employment continues to slowly increase, it is still well below 2007 levels – 20% less for furniture stores and almost 24% less for home furnishings stores.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Statistics of U.S. Businesses, Business Information Tracking Series *Estimated based on Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics growth estimates