I don’t need to remind most of you that there is some good, some bad and some downright ugly out there in the world of furniture.
At retail, furniture sales are up (good), retail technology is being fast-tracked (good), retail strategies such as appointment-only have worked well (good), it’s hard to find workers (bad), our supply chain is broken (ugly), and some retailers will face cash flow issues as a consequence of not setting aside sufficient cash to cover special-orders (potentially ugly).
I count three goods, three bads and two uglies. Let’s leave social unrest, politics, wildfires and meteors (see David Benbow's article) for a future issue.
Another negative—according to High Point based Smith Leonard Accountants and Consultants—the consumer confidence index “based on consumer’s short-term outlook for income, business and labor market conditions decreased sharply recently...”
Despite all these negatives there is some surprising good news. Millennials are reaching their peak home-buying age. Add to that, low mortgage rates and a lack of cash-spending alternatives during the pandemic—and—voila! we find ourselves in a housing boom. Who could have predicted that?
“Millennials are emerging as a dominant force relative to driving the purchase market forward in the next few years,” said Ellie Mae's chief operating officer, Joe Tyrrell. “Our data indicates...the true boom is just starting.”
Recent home sales figures bear this out. The most recent Smith Leonard "Monthly Furniture Insights Report" noted that existing home sales “are on a strong, upward trajectory,” and that “new house sales were up considerably in all four regions of the country compared to July 2019 sales.” Likewise, housing starts showed strong gains.
This bodes well for those of us who have what it takes to get through to the other side of this mess. I hope that the excellent content in this issue will assist in that regard.
Russell Bienenstock is Editor-in-Chief of Furniture World Magazine, founded 1870. Comments can be directed to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.