Buffett's annual letter praises Nebraska Furniture Mart plans
Clint Engel -- Furniture Today, February 27, 2012
OMAHA, Neb. — Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett had high praise for Nebraska Furniture Mart and the Blumkin family, which operates the home furnishings retailer, in his just-released annual letter to shareholders.
He also couldn't contain his excitement over Omaha-based NFM's plans to enter the Dallas market with a store Buffett said is "almost certain to be the highest-volume home furnishings store in the country."
Late last year, NFM closed on a 433-acre tract north of Dallas for a mixed-use development that will include a 546,000-square-foot home furnishings store. The company had estimated the store could do $600 million to $800 million in annual sales.
While Buffett said he was wrong in last year's prediction that "a housing recovery will probably begin within a year or so," he said NFM is weathering the slower-than-expected comeback. Buffett reported that its Omaha and Kansas City, Kan., stores each "had record-setting sales of more than $400 million in 2011."
"It will be several years before the Texas store is completed, but I look forward to cutting the ribbon at the opening," he said, adding in a parenthetical aside, "At Berkshire, the managers do the work; I take the bows."
Buffett devoted seven paragraphs in his latest letter to NFM, recalling his history with the home furnishings, electronics and appliance retailer that is 80% owned by Berkshire, and his strong relationships with the succession of Blumkin family members who have led the business.
He recalled Rose Blumkin (Mrs. B.), who started the store in 1937 and worked there until she was 103. In another aside, Buffett noted that Mrs. B died a year after retiring, "a sequence I point out to any other Berkshire manager who even thinks of retiring."
He added later that he is "rejoicing these days because several members of the fourth Blumkin generation have joined NFM."
Berkshire Hathaway's furniture division also includes Star Furniture, Jordan's Furniture, R.C. Willey and Homemakers Furniture in Des Moines, Iowa, owned by NFM.
- Mar 18, 2013