Buyers at Las Vegas Market react to retail expansion
Some say economy could justify future growth
Clint Engel -- Furniture Today, July 30, 2013
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"I don't know if the economy justifies it to date," said Mike Forwood, president of Austin-based Louis Shanks of Texas. He contended there's been more media hype about economic improvements than actual sales increases.
"We're optimistic that the housing market will continue to grow, and those sales are going to translate into increase furniture sales," Forwood said, noting this is cautious optimism because even the improving housing market can stall out if interest rates climb too high off their record lows.
Forward said Shanks' business held up nicely during the extended period of weak home sales and construction.
"We live in Texas and our country has been doing better than the United States," he said smiling.
Shanks is nearly finished with a major renovation of part of its 125,000-square-foot Houston store, but Forwood said it's not planning to add any more locations at this point.
Lee Goodman, president and CEO of San Diego-based Jerome's, said he can't speak to the other market expansions and players, but Los Angeles has been in Jerome's plans for years, and the retailer gradually has been moving that direction with openings in Murrieta, Corona and Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
If anything, Goodman said, Jerome's growth push was slowed by an improving economy - not the other way around - because it led to a tightening up in the real estate market.
For the most part, the retailer doesn't react to the economy, he said. Its moves have more to do with having the right team and systems in place to meet the expansion challenge.
"We obviously keep an eye on (the economy), but we don't make many decisions based on it," he said.
"Until you show me a crystal ball, we're going to wake up every morning optimistic."
Editor in Chief Ray Allegrezza contributed to this report.