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I'm Larry Thomas, business editor of Furniture/Today. In my 24 years here, I\'ve written stories about everything from box springs to wicker chairs. For 12 years, I wrote the weekly "Bedding Today" column, which is now in the capable hands of executive editor David Perry. Since being named business editor in 2001, most of my stories have dealt with home entertainment furniture, recliners, financial news and furniture markets. I look forward to discussing key industry issues in this forum, and I welcome your thoughts and opinions.
The recently completed economic impact study of the High Point Market already has received considerable attention - notably the headline-grabbing estimate of $5.39 billion in economic activity generated annually by the market.But the largest component of that estimate - furniture sales made within 90 days of market - has generated little discussion, even though selling furniture is the primary rea... Read MoreComments (2)
In the latest issue of Fortune, columnist Becky Quick takes snack food producer Mondelez International to the woodshed for recently notifying suppliers they are now on 120-day payment terms. Quick describes the company's action as "corporate bullying" because suppliers had no choice but to accept the new policy if they wanted to continue doing business with Mondelez. Mondelez, whose stab... Read MoreComments (11)
Even though North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has backed away from a budget proposal that would have slashed state funding for the High Point Market Authority, leaders of the group haven't dialed down their lobbying efforts. (See earlier article on McCory's change of mind.) They say continued state funding is critical to their efforts to attract new buyers and exhibitors and keep existing ones c... Read MoreComments (0)
Tired of driving their business with price-sensitive, low-margin electronics and appliances, executives of Beaumont, Texas-based retailer Conn's last year decided to focus on two product categories they believed would improve the bottom line and keep the retailer from following the path of Circuit City. The company decided to get serious about furniture and bedding.And how's it working out so far?... Read MoreComments (4)
If there was a Heisman Trophy for CEOs, my vote would go to Alex Smith, who has led retailer Pier 1 Imports since February 2007.But my support is not because Pier 1 has recorded nine straight quarters of same-store sales gains, and it's not because merchandise margins hit a stratospheric 60.5% in the fiscal third quarter that ended Nov. 26.I'm a Smith fan because he is refusing to allow Pier 1 to... Read MoreComments (2)
There's a right way and a wrong way close a factory, and nowhere is that more evident than Henry County, Va., which has been hammered by the recent closing of the American of Martinsville plant and the impending shutdown of Stanley Furniture's flagship Stanleytown factory. Stanley, whose action will eliminate about 530 jobs, gave its workers several months advance notice and is trying to assist th... Read MoreComments (1)
Andrew Cohen, president of massage chair resource Human Touch, was enjoying a quiet Sunday afternoon at home when a friend excitedly called to inform him that PGA golfer Tim Clark, who has an endorsement deal with the company, was poised to win The Players Championship, the richest event on the PGA tour. Cohen quickly found the tournament telecast and watched Clark fend off two challengers on the... Read MoreComments (0)
Ken Kochekian had an unenviable task at last month’s High Point Market — and he lived to tell about it. Kochekian, president of leather supplier Universal Leather, had to explain to his customers why leather prices were going up just as many in the furniture industry were reporting a slight uptick in business. It certainly wasn’t what manufacturers wanted to hear. But Kochekian and his staff, arme... Read MoreComments (5)
Chinese leather upholstery resource Man Wah Holdings, which makes the Cheers brand of recliners, motion sofas and motion sectionals, won’t be able to fly under the proverbial radar any longer, thanks to a filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that documents its meteoric rise in the U.S. market. The regulatory filing, made in conjunction with an initial public offering, paints a picture of a com... Read MoreComments (15)
Although 2010 is less than three months old, it already has been a good year for Cliff Levin and the folks at Inada USA, a distributor of massage chairs. Orders in January and February tripled the orders received in the same two months of 2009, and that was before two major publicity “hits” that are sure to boost spring orders. “We are having trouble catching up with demand,” Levin told me enthus... Read MoreComments (0)
La-Z-Boy’s company-owned stores are starting to show signs of life after more than a year’s worth of operational changes and cost-cutting initiatives, but La-Z-Boy CEO Kurt Darrow acknowledged this week that the cost-cutting has gone about as far as it can go. It’s going to take a bump on the top line to completely reverse the retail group’s operating losses, he told securities analysts on a recen... Read MoreComments (3)
The dream horse race that Gallery Furniture owner Jim McIngvale has sought for months looks like it will take place – but it won’t be in Gallery Furniture’s hometown of Houston. Unfortunately for McIngvale, Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., offered a $5 million purse for a race involving superfillys Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta on April 9. That’s $3 million more than McIngvale and Sam Houston Ra... Read MoreComments (0)