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Thread: No improvement in delivery times for ordered furniture

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Alexandria VA
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    15,010

    Default Re: No improvement in delivery times for ordered furniture

    The overstock situation mainly applies to imports from Pacific Rim countries (China, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, etc). Those pieces are made in huge batches, maybe 200 identical units at a time on larger pieces, 800 at a time on smaller ones. What happened was EVERYONE ordered to the max, both companies that make product there and individual stores, because during Covid's peak people were coming in and buying most anything, emptying stores of floor stock. Everyone was sold out, every warehouse empty. So the natural business reaction was to order more, to not get caught short. A lot more. Now all that product has come rolling in and there is no where to put it. We are seeing massive supplier sales on imports that we carry - trouble is, we don't need the product and people are not asking for it. So it sits in the supplier's warehouse and they are getting killed on the monetary cost of carrying inventory. At the store level, bigger stores built new warehouses, figuring they could make a killing on having pieces in stock, ready to go. And they filled those warehouses up to where there is no more space. They are telling their freight carriers to halt deliveries and paying storage fees at those carriers while all the new product sits in trailers. They also have moratoriums on any new buying. So there are bound to be deals on imports - at any store.

    Domestic product not so much, because that is all built to order, one at a time. There are no large batches. Demand is still out there, because people still have money and good paychecks. The difference is they are not taking just anything to fill space and will wait to get what they want.

    At The Keeping Room, Sarah and I decided not to get into that ordering frenzy, not with all the talk of recession. We cut back, and have a very good balance right now. Our store is full to the brim, and we have maybe ten pieces in the warehouse that are either doubles of what is in the store or waiting for a space to open up on the floor.

    Special orders are NOT improving on time for domestic items, no matter how hard everyone wishes or what they may say on their website. Everyone is fond of saying 6 months right now, the reality is that it's closer to 8 months for most and will even to go 10 months. One curiosity however is Hancock and Moore tufted is arriving in about 4 months. Turns out their tufting team is all caught up (they are specialized and don't work on regular items) so we are getting faster deliveries on tufted upholstery vs non-tufted. Motion furniture as a category still is the longest due to mechanism shortages.
    Last edited by drcollie; 4 Weeks Ago at 06:55 PM.
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty-six years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum.

  2. #22

    Default Re: No improvement in delivery times for ordered furniture

    Thanks, that's what I figured, and makes sense. Build to order, or small batch pre-orders, is definitely a more economical, environmentally-friendly way to produce that I wish more industries did. You think there are any brands out there that may be decent pickups with the liquidations? La-Z-Boy?

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Default Re: No improvement in delivery times for ordered furniture

    I can’t say, I don’t generally go into stores like La-z-Boy when not at work. Best to call them and ask.
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty-six years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum.

  4. #24

    Default Re: No improvement in delivery times for ordered furniture

    Fair enough. I forget which of the lower tier brands you tend to like and recommend, if any. I'm sure I've stumbled across a post or two here a while back. Thanks for your continued updates on the state of the market!

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Default Re: No improvement in delivery times for ordered furniture

    I don't really have a recommendation for lower tier brands or items, sorry. At a certain point, pieces become utility-grade and are not designed for durability, comfort, strength or longevity. That's a segment we have never entered into for exactly those reasons. And I will tell you a story.....

    Many years ago there was a man named Reny Barnes, and he had a four-store operation in metro DC with one of his stores located a half a mile from our location. The stores were named CL Barnes. Reny came into my store one day and looked around, picked up several price tags and then introduced himself (I knew who he was). He said "I've heard about your store and wanted to stop in, you have some really nice product in here, some of the best I've seen, but you have it all wrong."

    I bristled slightly and said "How do you figure?". I'd only been doing this a few years - did I have something wrong?

    Reny continued with "You sell high quality for low prices, you're not making good margins - I can see you are leaving money on the table. And, your products are going to last too long because they are well-made."

    And I came back to him with "I've been in your store too, I see you sell low-end products for high prices - like Ashley Furniture. For what you charge, the quality is not very good and your clientele has to be calling you complaining about it after they have had the pieces a few months."

    He said "Yes they do and we don't try to make them happy. Margins are higher on low-end furniture and that's what we take to the bank. I'm not looking for repeat business or customer loyalty. One and done is how we operate and it works fine for us. This is a big city, there are plenty of customers without needing repeat clients so customer satisfaction is not a priority with us."

    Not knowing what else to say I responded with "How do you sleep at night?" And he said he slept just fine.

    CL Barnes went out of business in the 2007-2008 Recession. Fifteen Years after they liquidated, The Keeping Room is still in business so I think mine is the better model, it has served us well over the decades.

    Point being - if you go too low tier, then you will be replacing it. And even before you replace it, you likely will be unhappy with the way it sits / feels / functions. Try to find a good balance of budget vs use. It's a mistake to shop furniture on price alone - a big mistake. Learn what makes a decent piece, decide what YOU expect out of the furniture, and they make your purchase. I just ordered a group of Hooker Furniture for my own home, for two spare bedrooms that will see little or no use but we want to have something in there that is presentable. They will have MARQ bedding in the bedframes, not Royal-Pedic. Hooker is mid-level and both Sarah and my son Alex have it in their homes. It's not fine furniture, but neither is it junk. That's about the lower limit for what we will carry in our store. I always have one guiding principal - If I won't own it in my own home, why should I expect my customers to buy it?" And I look at every single line, and every single product with that in the back of my mind.

    One more suggestion - if you live in a larger city, especially more affluent ones, there are massive bargains to be had on pre-owned high quality pieces. They go for pennies on the dollar and often its just because the owner is moving or has a change in style they want to explore. I would rather have a well-taken care of but used high quality piece than brand new low-end item.
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty-six years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Nov 2020
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: No improvement in delivery times for ordered furniture

    Amen, Brother Duane !! That post is spot on and goes for many an industry, not just furniture! Wouldn't buy a piece of furniture from anyone but you!!

  7. #27

    Default Re: No improvement in delivery times for ordered furniture

    As you asked, how did he sleep at night? Wow. I've been a long time reader and refer back to your insight often. I only rent at the moment, but I enjoy the hunt and learning about quality products; whether it's clothes, shoes, furniture, cars. Eventually when I buy I'd like to find second-hand Hooker, H&M, etc.

    You've certainly done it right; difficult to find great customer service nowadays. It's also been satisfying to see the push to shop local and buy American made.

  8. #28
    Join Date
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    Default Re: No improvement in delivery times for ordered furniture

    I think you should try to find balance in your home furnishings budget. Rooms and pieces that get rarely used, such as guest bedrooms, its fine to put lesser quality items in there. Or in living rooms (if your home has one) as they are used a couple times a year if that. Where you want to buy better quality are your everyday-use pieces. This can run opposite what some people think, but here's where I suggest you put the most money and buy the best quality

    1. Kitchen Counter Stools - if you use them daily. They take a lot of wear and tear, but are frequently afterthought pieces. Buy good ones that are comfortable and sturdy.

    2. Kitchen Table Chairs - Don't go cheap here. They get a lot of stress and inexpensive ones will begin to wobble in short order, its all about the joinery.

    3. Your main sofa and chair (or recliner) where the TV is. Typically the Family Room. The ones you always use - buy quality here, it will last longer and be comfortable.

    4. Your bedding in the Master Bedroom. For most people, they sleep in their own bed over 300 nights a year. A good mattress is the single more important piece of furnishings you will ever buy. It will help you get good rest, and not wake up full of aches from being too soft and unsupportive. Change the bedding when it begins to sag or pocket, don't try to get a few more years out of it. Bedding is not created equal, Good mattresses are expensive. You can get buy with less costly ones but they fail at a fast rate - so change them out more frequently.

    Rule of thumb - any items you are putting stress on (sofa, chair, bedding) needs to be the best you can afford. Non-stress items like desks, dining tables, chests of drawers, nightstands, upholstered chairs in the bedroom, bookcases, etc, can be of lesser build to economize.

    Another analogy.....

    I have always been a home mechanic on my cars, motorcycles, trucks, etc. I have a huge toolbox in my garage loaded with tools. My primary tools are Snap-On brand, they are horribly expensive, but worth it because Snap-on Sockets never round off a fastener, their wrenches fit tight and can loosen nuts and bolts that lesser ones can't, without damage. A set of 3/8" sockets is about $ 250, and I have had mine for thirty years now. We have a Harbor Freight not too far away, and those are the cheapest tools you can buy - their socket set is $ 25 and will never be in my toolbox. But, I have some of their other tools as well - knowing its throw-away stuff, such as pry-bars, or picks, or a set of cheap screwdrivers when a neighbor asks if they can borrow a tool (Snap-On is never loaned out). I would never buy their Spring Compressors for doing struts, lest they break and the spring takes off my head - but i will buy their products when I know they are working on non-critical parts, such as a grinder or polisher for example, or an electrical extension cord. It's all about knowing what you want an item to do for you, and knowing the failure consequences before you make the buy.
    Duane Collie
    Straight answers from thirty-six years in the business.
    My Private Messages are Disabled - Please ask questions here in the forum.

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