Wichita, Kansas (PressExposure) October 31, 2008 -- In the October 13th issue of Furniture Today, mattress retailer Sealy and furniture giant Havertys both announced plummeting sales in this year's fiscal third quarter. Ashley Furniture recently laid off 5% of their work force in the state of Mississippi, giving the axe to a total of around 200 upholstery workers.
Stories in the news of brick-and-mortar furniture store closings are multiplying fast:
* Wickes Furniture is going out of business and closing all of its stores. The retailer has provided middle-income customers with furniture products for 37 years. They filed for bankruptcy protection this year.
* Furniture retailer Levitz, dating back to 1910, announced it was going out of business and closing all 76 of its stores.
* Ethan Allen Interiors plans to close 12 of its 300 stores to cut operating costs. Their profits fell 57.2% in the last quarter
* The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) predicts that there will be a 41% increase in national retail store closings this year.
Between the billion-dollar bailout for the nation's top finance companies, high inflation, and the year's skyrocketing gas prices, we have seen a perfect storm of circumstances weighing heavily on our country's economy.
High unemployment in construction, manufacturing, and the retail trade has only added to the nation's economic woes. There has been a slowdown in residential, as well as commercial construction, and it follows that home furnishing suppliers have sold less and made fewer investments.
Many furniture workers are unable to find work in the current market. The U.S. Department of Labor announced that employment fell by 159,000 jobs in September, mostly due to layoffs in construction, manufacturing, and the retail trade.
Outlook Not as Grim for Online Furniture Retailer iFurn.com: There is no doubt that the sagging economy is taking its toll on the furniture industry. However, through smart branding and excellent customer service, online furniture retailer iFurn has, by contrast, increased its 2008 third quarter sales compared to 2007, and has hired many new workers.
When asked why iFurn.com has been so successful in the recent past, CEO Tracy Norris stated that "the power of online furniture shopping has come to life because of the ease of shopping at home. It saves the consumer precious time, as well as gas, and the consumer has so many more choices online than in a traditional store."
"Right now, the consumer is shopping for the home, because they are staying more at home and want to create a place of comfort and entertainment. This is why sales of Entertainment Centers, Home Theater Seating, and the like are so big right now. Of course, there are several trade secrets I can't discuss here on how iFurn has done so well, but iFurn was proud to be named one of the fastest growing privately owned companies in the United States, and was placed on the prestigious Inc5000 list this year by Inc. Magazine with more than 83% growth."
iFurn.com offers the consumer a variety of quality furniture including home furniture such as bedroom sets, living room furniture, dining room furniture and kitchen furniture, as well as home theater furnishings. Their office furniture selection for the home office, executive office and corporate office is unmatched, offering free shipping and white glove delivery and setup options.