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Furniture Everyday

Bill McLoughlin
I'm Bill McLoughlin, Editor in Chief at Furniture Today. In the 25 plus years I’ve covered retail the thing I’ve enjoyed most is the people; hearing their stories, learning about their companies and sharing insights on the business. Through this blog I hope to continue that dialogue. Sometimes you may agree with me, sometimes not. But it’s my hope you will find a fresh perspective and perhaps an idea or two that helps improve your business. I welcome your comments and look forward to a long and productive dialogue.
  • How someone doing everything ‘right’ can cost you a sale

    My wife and I purchased a new home recently and gradually have been buying new furniture. We’ve visited most of the local furniture stores and made a few purchases, some at a local brick and mortar and others via the Internet. On a recent trip to a local furniture store, we found a particular chair we liked in an outlet/clearance area of the store. (Full disclosure: I love a good value and am not averse to shopping closeouts on our preferred brands — and, yes, I shop by manufacturer brand as well as retailer) . Our goal was to find ... Read More
  • What can Tylenol teach the furniture industry?

    Social media was abuzz last week with a dramatic video of a two-year-old rescuing his twin brother from beneath a toppled dresser - one the pair had been climbing when it tipped. Video of the accident drew more than 12 million views on YouTube, nearly 4,000 shares and 60,000 views on Facebook. It has once again catapulted the tipping issue to the forefront of consumer consciousness and will almost certainly reinvigorate the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s pursuit of furniture design changes to address the issue. Speaking to Furniture Today for an upcoming story regarding the outlook for 2017 ... Read More
  • 5 resolutions for the furniture industry in 2017

    It's the start of a new year, which is always a good time set goals for the coming year. To help jump start that effort, here are a few resolutions that, even if you only keep some, could help your business this year and beyond. 1. Pick up the paceThe Internet has forever raised consumer expectations when it comes to delivery time. Anything furniture retailers and manufacturers can do to shorten lead times and get product into the consumer’s home more quickly will increase satisfaction and build repeat purchases. 2. Scale to customizeConsumers increasingly see their ... Read More
  • 3 shifts to prepare for in 2017

    As 2016 comes to a close you can hear the furniture industry breathe a collective sigh of relief that the presidential election is in the rear view mirror. Having just endured a roller coaster year culminating in a modest 2.7% increase, according to Furniture Today estimates, there is a sense that everything will return to normal now that the election is over. The real question however is, what is normal? Certainly the 3.9% the industry grew in 2015 is better than the year just past. But as recently as 2014, industry growth was pegged at just 2%, and ... Read More
  • Opening the door to new forecasting opportunities

    We live in an age of data. More information is available about consumer purchase behavior than at any time in human history, and sifting through to determine which data points are actionable or so much chaff can be a Sisyphean task. Yet when it comes specifically to furniture, the availability of actionable data, particularly around the ability to forecast upcoming demand, can be more limited. There is, for example, an anecdotal presumption that housing trends are linked to furniture sales. Rising housing starts and positive household formation numbers are typically viewed as good news, while a downturn in the housing ... Read More
  • A gentle lesson in leadership

    As I sit here writing this, the Furniture Today Leadership Conference has just concluded. The focus of the conference this year was transformative change and leading organizations through it. Day one was packed with speakers describing the increasing pace of change the industry confronts and offering a plethora of strategies to confront it. Day two concluded with three bright, passionate and knowledgeable future leaders laying out a vision for tomorrow that cannot help but make one optimistic about the industry’s future. We will have complete coverage in next week’s paper. But sometimes the most profound learning takes place ... Read More
  • A heritage to build on

    Furniture Today has gotten a facelift. If you take a good look at the paper in your hands you'll notice it's a little different - not a lot, but a little. Furniture Today has a venerable 40-year history, and we have tried to be respectful to that heritage. However, as much and as often as we write about change in the industry, it seemed appropriate to look in the mirror and ask if we also need to embrace a little change. We did, and the answer was yes. Like retail, the media business is changing. We compete for eyeballs ... Read More
  • 7 things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving

    There was a sense over the past few months that once the election passed things would settle down and return to some semblance of normalcy. For the moment that does not seem to be the case. Supporters of the respective candidates appear, if anything, to have hardened their positions, and there is growing evidence that the polarization of the electorate may portend a period of extended social conflict. At this moment in time it appears that regardless of political affiliation, there is greater focus on what divides us than what unites us. In no way do I want to minimize ... Read More
  • Are there business lessons to be learned from this election?

    Regardless of which side you may have voted for (or against), it's fairly clear that this Presidential election was about change and the desire to seek redress for dissatisfaction. This is in no way intended to be a political column; instead I believe there are some lessons to be learned from this that could aptly be applied to the furniture business. Not unlike the country, the consumer "electorate" is undergoing significant demographic changes and people's attitudes toward their homes, the places they shop and how they spend their money are undergoing a fresh round of evaluation. Your ability ... Read More
  • 4 reasons you might not have had a good High Point Market

    By most accounts the recent High Point Market was solidly attended. At least two exhibitors told me they had their best market in years. Another reported a 30% increase in retail showroom visits, and yet another said by Saturday his company had seen at least 20 Top 100 retailers. That doesn't mean everyone had a good market. In fact, there were some companies complaining about traffic. If you are one of those, there is reason for concern. When there is widespread agreement on diminished traffic, such as we saw this summer, it’s a pretty good indicator of slowed ... Read More
  • You want to know how High Point Market went?

    So the hustle and bustle of another High Point Market is receding, and it's time to take stock. I'll have more to say on this in our Nov. 7 issue but wanted to share a couple of quick thoughts on this fall's event. How was it? In a word – busy. Retailers started coming in the Tuesday before market; by Thursday key showrooms were so busy that on Saturday there were some who were concerned the market would be over as soon as it “officially” started. It wasn’t, not by a long shot. Monday’s traffic might ... Read More
  • Are you asking the right questions?

    Markets are always a good time to assess your business, and this time that might be particularly true. The furniture business this year has been, by most accounts, inconsistent. A strong month or two is followed by a period of weakness. Growing sales in one part of the country are negated by declines in elsewhere. There is no shortage of theories to explain the inconsistency, and the cover story in this issue by Senior Retail Editor Clint Engel covers most of them. When all’s said and done, though, the real question is what are you going to do about ... Read More