In past years this Editor’s Corner spot in the November/December issue has
looked back at the passing year and guessed at what Furniture World
readers might expect in the coming twelve months. Frankly, I’m not up to
doing that this time around. That’s partially because of my poor track
record at anticipating the events of the past year and also because I’m
tired of listening to pundits and economic forecasters.
My old friend Peter Marino used to say that the problem with salespeople
memorizing their lines is that customers keep forgetting theirs. Forecasts
are a bit like that. They provide a small degree of certainty as well as
minor comfort that comes along with being able to plan ahead. But, as with
our customers’ lines, there are always surprises.
Old Farmer’s Almanac: For 2022, the Old Farmers’ Almanac forecast advises
its readers to “Prepare for a ‘Season of Shivers.’ This winter,” it says,
“will be punctuated by positively bone-chilling, below-average
temperatures across most of the United States.”
I hope that the business climate in 2022 will be less chilling for our
industry than the Almanac’s forecast. People in the know say that the rate
of housing cost increases will decline, labor will remain a problem,
interest rates will trend up, the rate of inflation will probably trend
down, supply chain issues will slowly moderate and COVID will be around
for a while longer. None of this is very helpful.
Surprises on the way: If I were to make a guess for 2022,
it would be to expect more surprises. Smart retailers will continue to
prepare for uncertainty by obsessively watching which way the wind blows
and investing in business intelligence and smart systems to enable nimble
decision-making. Who knows if shivers will prevail or if the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) forecast for milder
2021-2022 conditions will turn out to be accurate?
Either way, Furniture World will continue to keep readers abreast of
information and systems that contribute to successful retailing. In this
issue, check out articles by store planner Jennifer Magee, trend
consultant Michelle Lamb, sales trainer Scott Morris, business consultant
David McMahon and others who can help you and your operation embrace
uncertainty and prepare for whatever weather may come your way.
Russell Bienenstock is Editor-in-Chief of Furniture World Magazine, founded 1870. Comments can be directed to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.