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Content about HFA member-retailers contributed by HFA.

More legislative challenges facing home furnishings retailers in 2021

We are all happy to place 2020 in the rear-view mirror, however, the calendar’s changeover has done little to clarify many of the issues that face home furnishings retailers.

Newest Stimulus

2020 ended with a new stimulus package, a stopgap to get us through the first quarter of 2021 and allow a new administration and Congress to take the next steps. A new tranche of PPP loans is in process, including a second loan opportunity for those who took one in 2020. The extension of unemployment benefits (the added $300) carries us through March. HFA's advocacy efforts have not slowed as we look at the nuances of navigating a new administration and Congressional mix. Our continued concerns include the tax implications of stimulus benefits, more flexible regulations surrounding loan forgiveness, and liability protections. With the guidance of HFA's Government Relations Action Team (GRAT), made up of lobbyists and retailers from around the country, HFA is monitoring activity in DC that might impact the home furnishings businesses.

Vietnam Timber Tariffs

In the last week of 2020, I had the opportunity to testify before the United States Trade Representative on the section 301 investigation into allegations that Vietnam uses illegally sourced timber. No evidence offered shows that US manufacturers or retailers are importing products with improperly procured wood. Yet, there are threats of across-the-board tariffs on products from Vietnam. HFA has forcefully pushed back because those tariffs would almost certainly result in cost increases and not help furniture retailers that are struggling with supply chain delays.

Essential Status

On a state level, HFA's push for “essential status” for home furnishings retail continues. Even when everyone is vaccinated, the focus on “home” is here to stay, thanks to remote work and its prevalence. In our minds, home furnishing businesses will remain essential to American consumers and must always be part of our messaging and industry promotion.

Vigilance is necessary on all of these matters. HFA will continue to look out for retailers’ interests, whether on Capitol Hill or at city hall.

For more information on HFA visit https://myhfa.org/.

A  feature about Home Furnishings Association's retail members, legislation affecting the furniture industry and other retail news from HFA.