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2023 brings sales woes for vast majority of Top 100

HIGH POINT — The red numbers that plagued nearly half of the Top 100 in 2022 expanded to 83% of the roster in 2023 as consumers continued to divert discretionary spending from furniture, bedding and accessories to travel, entertainment and personal care.

Adding to the sale crunch were the ongoing concerns consumers had about inflation, elevated interest rates and a depressed housing market that is low on inventory but high on prices.

Also missing from the equation in 2023 were bottom line additions such as the carry-over sales that retailers booked in 2022 from orders written but not delivered in 2021 when supply chain issues created a major backlog.

The result of this industrywide malaise is a second straight year of a sales decline, with combined sales for the Top 100 furniture retailers coming in at $56.1 billion, a 7.4% drop from 2022’s $60.6 billion and an 8.2% decline from 2021. The Top 100’s share of U.S. furniture sales also fell another percentage point, landing at 81%.

The burden was heavier still for the conventional furniture sector, which experienced an 8.8% decline in sales for 2023 vs. 2022, while specialty stores were down 5.9%.

Among those few retailers experiencing a sales gain in 2023, several were from the specialty category, including Crate & Barrel, up 11.2%; Lovesac, 7.5%; Ikea, 6%; and Arhaus, which experienced a 4.8% sales boost.

But two conventional retailers headed up the list of top gainers: Clive Daniel Home, up 16.5%, and Conn’s, up 14.6%, buoyed primarily from the addition of Badcock’s stable of furniture stores after that acquisition last year.

Overall, the Top 100 saw a slight drop in number of units, down 72 stores for a 0.6% decline. Within the Top 100, conventional retailers were up 1.8% in units, while specialty was down 1.9%. Part of that movement can be attributed to the exit from the Top 100 of two specialty players: Z Gallerie and Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams, which accounted for about 50 units combined.

Lovesac, with a net gain of 34 showrooms 2023, and Arhaus, which added 11 units, topped the list for storefront growth, while other specialty players such as Mattress Warehouse and Big Lots led in declines in store counts.

Among conventional retailers, with the exception of Conn’s, which booked the biggest gain with its Badcock acquisition, Living Spaces, American Freight and Bob’s Discount all added seven units during the year. Meanwhile, 40% of the Top 100 maintained the status quo on their store counts.

Making moves

Crate & Barrel, which is owned by Otto Group in Germany, jumped up to No. 7 from No. 11 within the Top 10 in 2023 based on its double-digit growth and strong online sales.

Ashley maintained the No. 1 spot on the list, although sales dropped by 2.5% and brought the store network below the $6 billion mark. There were 20 Ashley licensees within the Top 100 in 2023.

To eliminate double counting when compiling total sales and store counts, Furniture Today Strategic Insights adjusts the aggregate data for the Ashley Stores network and for La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries.

Ikea and the aforementioned Crate & Barrel were the only two companies within the Top 10 to show a sales gain in 2023. In 2022, half of the Top 10 were in the positive column.

Arhaus, which eclipsed the $1 billion mark in 2022 and added to that in 2023, moved a bit closer to the Top 10, taking over the No. 13 position. Lovesac moved a few spots as well, going from No. 25 to No. 22. Furnitureland South, with a 4.1% sales gain, found itself in the Top 50, and Clive Daniel Home vaulted from 82nd to 73rd on the list.

Meanwhile Big Lots, which was as high as No. 8 a few years ago, slipped down the roster to No. 16 based on a 15.1% decline in sales. Bassett Home Furnishings also fell several spots, going from No. 32 to No. 39.

Hello and goodbye

The Top 100 list welcomed four retailers for 2023:

  • 97 Canales Furniture, a 21-store operator out of Texas
  • 98 The Furniture Warehouse/Richmond Sales, a six-store retailer from Florida
  • Indianapolis-based Kittle’s Furniture, which has been on the Top 100 previously and returned in 2023 at No. 99
  • 100 Talsma Furniture, a four-store Michigan-based retailer.

Along with the exit of Z Gallerie, which closed its retail stores and was later purchased out of bankruptcy by Karat Home; the shuttering of Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams; and the consolidation of Badcock’s sales within the Conn’s listing, last year’s No. 100 Sheely’s Furniture, failed to make the cut in 2023.

See also: Top 100 numbers a stark reminder of furniture industry’s struggles | Bill McLoughlin

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