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We’re Back To The Game Of Hurry Up And Wait

Hey FAM, it’s Ray Allegrezza.

This week, I’m talking about what’s next on the horizon now that High Point Market is nearly over. Any guesses? I’ll give you one hint: Trucking.

Plus, don’t miss FAM stories about Wayfair’s recent changes and how they relate to changes in the industry overall, how we handle life when it hits us hard, and the value and future of furniture markets.

#WIMTY — What It Means To You

Now that the dust has settled from this week’s furniture market, word on the street is that the market did exactly what it is supposed to do—allow buyers and sellers to meet, greet, and buy and sell furniture, bedding and accessories.

From where I sat and from what I saw and from those I spoke with, the market was better than many had predicted. For the record, market today is far less about feet on the street and more about written business.

Just about every exhibitor I spoke with confirmed that observation and confirmed that this market was clearly about the quality of the buyers here, not the quantity.

So, who were the winners by the end of the show? Clearly, the winners were those retailers who came with a purpose and those exhibitors who invested the time, money and energy to develop new product.

While some exhibitors came to market with nothing new and others decided to stay home, there were scores of companies like Jackson/Catnapper who rolled the dice and unveiled 16 new introductions.

Jackson’s bet paid off handsomely, in part, because many retailers admitted that they had not changed their assortments for the past two years thanks to Covid.

And now, the big story will revert back to logistics, supply chain issues and what it will take to get the product to retailers—and that means trucking.

(continued below)


I found it ironic that in the middle of market, President Biden held a press conference to talk about—you guessed it—the trucking sector.

If memory serves me, late last year his team talked about a 90-day plan designed to get the trucking industry out of first gear. In December, the White House announced a 90-day plan which it said would improve the trucking industry and help untangle the supply chain, but many trucking executives say not much as improved.

Making matters even more challenging since that announcement, there has been the issue of the Ukraine being invaded by Russia and subsequent diesel pricing reaching their highest levels in almost 30 years.

So, last week’s dog-and-pony-trucking show featuring President Biden and his Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg highlighting all the progress being made in the trucking sector honestly left me stalled on the side of the road.

The White House suggested that the time slot between last December and February of this year was the best 90-day period for hires of long-distance truckers.

While that might have been true, the most recent jobs report indicates that the trucking sector actually lost almost 5,000 jobs between this past February and March.

Clearly, the challenge of driver shortage is still very much with us and until that problem is solved, inventory is simply not going to get to retailers as quickly as it needs to.

A recent chart from the American Trucking Association clearly paints the picture.

Driver Shortage Update 2021

Both graphics sourced from the 2021 Trucking.Com ATA Driver Shortage Report

There are a host of solutions being touted and tested—everything from lowering the age of drivers, bringing in drivers from other countries and even incorporating robotics and self-driving technology.

All interesting, some perhaps more viable than others, but all still way down the road from solving the driver-shortage issues.

Even so, we should all be thankful for a market that exceeded the expectations of many.

New product is coming but for right now, we are still playing the game of hurry up and wait.


FAM Furniture Stories

Ray Allegrezza caught up with Wayfair CEO Niraj Shah to talk about the myriad changes impacting Wayfair and the entire home furnishings sector. Shah also offers his take on where we are headed, what he thinks retail will look like moving forward, next-gen retail technology and systems, and more.

There are a lot of things going wrong right now, and Mark Quinn encourages everyone to take a minute to pause on what is going on, how we are handling it, and what it will all mean down the road.

Is it Covid that has changed the way the industry looks at trade shows—or was that already happening before the pandemic hit? The FAM spoke to several industry insiders about the future and value of markets.

In Case You Missed It

Ashley Furniture Is rolling back pricing on most of its imported products, including accessories, bedding, outdoor furniture, upholstery and case goods. The letter follows a previous letter sent by the company that told dealers about a series of price increases taking effect on all new orders placed on or after March 13. The effort is part of an effort to “reconcile any charges you have incurred consistent with new pricing beginning April 17.”

City Furniture’s upcoming Earth Day initiative will allow customers to donate gently used furniture to Habitat for Humanity. Customers can participate by making a furniture purchase at one of City’s Broward or Palm Beach showroom locations on Earth Day Weekend (April 22-24). Upon purchase, customers will let their sales associates know they would like to donate their gently used furniture pieces. City kept 2.4 million pounds of furniture out of landfills last year through its ongoing efforts with Habitat for Humanity.

Porter Designs recently unveiled its Good Earth Furniture with a Conscience collection of fashion-forward sustainable upholstery covered in high-quality performance fabrics. The goal of the line is to reduce the environmental footprint and protect our natural resources for future generations. The Good Earth sustainable seating collection achieves this by using recycled fiberboard and foam along with soft and durable performance fabric made from repurposed plastic bottles. They also package it for shipping in recycled materials.

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