COVID-19 Impacts Furniture Sales, Customers Can Expect Longer Wait Times
The Twin Cities housing market is hot.
Realtors say inventory and interest rates are low, and homes that are priced where they should be are selling fast.
As a result, furniture stores are reaping the benefits.
“It’s pretty exciting for us at Hom Furniture,” said Kyle Johansen, executive director of merchandising at Hom Furniture, which has locations in Brooklyn Center and Plymouth. “When you go buy a new house or a new apartment, you gotta go get new furniture. It’s just kind of what you do.”
Johansen says the hot housing market is leading to increased sales across all departments, especially when it comes to living and dining room furniture.
“Furniture sales have always been highly correlated with home sales,” he said.
Sales up, wait times long
But in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, customers like Linda Carlson of Coon Rapids discovered that buying furniture right now is going to require some patience.
“One of the things that we purchased for mom was a bed, and it took so much longer than they anticipated,” Carlson said. “I think as a matter of fact it was like six or eight weeks instead of the normal two or four.“
It’s a common story at many furniture stores.
When COVID hit, many stores had to close because they weren’t deemed “essential” by their state governments. But customers with time and extra income on their hands made online purchases and created a backlog.
“So demand went way up while supply was going down, and basic economics will tell you that’s gonna cause a big problem over time,” Johansen said.
On top of that, Johansen says supply chains are backed up, and many factories are operating below capacity to help maintain social distancing guidelines.
As a result, if you order furniture now, you’ll likely have to wait for it.
“You should plan a 30-day delay still on your inventory,” he said. “Maybe even 45 days further than what you normally would experience, especially for those custom orders that have to go through the factory one-by-one.”
The best advice is to start shopping for furniture about a month before you’ll need it, otherwise you may end up with a new home and an empty living room.
“Welcome to a new marketplace,” Carlson said.