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David Perry

5-year retail sales forecast calls for bedding growth

David PerryDavid Perry - Executive Editor
This week we shake off the pressing issues of the day and take a long-term look at where the mattress category is heading. The answer: to a pretty good place.
     The Retail Planning Guide that we published late last year contained a wealth of fascinating insights into markets around the country, and also included our forecasts of retail spending by furniture category for 2018.
     Yes, I know 2018 seems like a very far way away as we all get used to writing "2014" these days, but it is helpful to step back every now and then from questions about how Las Vegas product intros will retail, where warranties are headed, and what retail consolidation means for Mom and Pop retailers and see what may await our industry far down the road.
     Furniture/Today forecasts 2018 retail sales figures for 17 furniture and bedding product categories. The newspaper estimates that retail bedding sales in 2013 reached $13.9 billion and will hit $16.1 billion in 2018. That would be a 15.8% increase.
     And that would be very good news for mattress retailers, producers and suppliers, as that would be one of the highest growth rates for any furniture category. Only stationary chairs and motion sofas are predicted to have higher retail growth rates, just a tick above bedding over the next four years, at 15.9%.
     Bedding, meanwhile, shares elite growth status with youth furniture and stationary sofas/sofa-sleepers, also forecast to record retail growth rates of 15.8% by 2018.
     The total growth forecast for the furniture and bedding category at retail, estimated to be $94.9 billion at the end of last year and expected to reach $109.5 billion in 2018, reflects 15.4% growth. So bedding will continue to be an outlier, a bright star on retail floors, according to our forecast.
     Now don't you feel better about being a mattress retailer?
All of those retail forecasts, by the way, are based on projections from statisticians at Easy Analytic Software Inc., based in New York, and on market research conducted by Dana French and her team in our Research Department.
Taking a closer look at the 15.8% retail growth forecast for the bedding industry, that breaks out to annual growth of about 3% per year for the next five years.
     There is something to be said for modest but steady growth. It certainly beats the alternative - sales declines. And remember that a 3% retail growth rate for bedding in each of the next five years would be stronger than most of the other product categories carried by furniture stores, according to the F/T forecast.
     Mattress producers and retailers looking for growth in the next five years will find plenty of growth indicators in the Retail Planning Guide. Which Top 15 major market is expected to see the greatest growth in retail sales in the next five years? That would be the Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, Mich., market, with a forecast of 18% growth. The slowest growth rate for major markets is the 14% forecast for the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz., market.
     Looking for the fastest growing major market? Set your sights on Manhattan.
    No, we don't mean Manhattan, N.Y. We are talking about Manhattan, Kan., with a stellar 22.3% jump in retail furniture and bedding sales forecast by 2018.
     The Retail Planning Guide is full of interesting insights like those.

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