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Monthly Issue


From Home Furnishing Business

Who's Cheating Whom

By: Bob George

When I began to think about this issue, I put on my nostalgia glasses and reflected on the past, the past of gallery programs, clean distribution, and manufacturers defined by a single product category or even a specific style.

It all seemed so straightforward heralding a simpler time. However, after talking with those who lived it, my memory realigned with reality, and I concluded it was not as perfect as I had remembered it to be.

Today, manufacturers are pursuing e-tailers they once sworn not to sell. Retailers are embarking on trips to the Far East and are encountering the manufacturers they will see in the near future at Market. And, don’t leave out consumers. After spending an afternoon in a local retailer’s showroom being educated on the features and benefits by an informed sales person, they are joyfully surfing the Internet to find a better price for goods. The question becomes—Is anyone loyal anymore?

Everyone makes excuses.


·         E-tailers allow us to make a better margin.

·         Retailers take my product shots offshore and buy direct.

·         And so on. . . . .



·         Why not go direct? The manufacturer doesn’t provide services anymore. Manufacturers’ representatives no longer train our sales associates.

·         Where is product photography when they have collateral? They don’t supply the images I need.

·         And so on. . . . .



·         Why not buy on the Internet? It is convenient. Why pay for that store? They make too much profit.

·         They don’t sell the total look.

·         And so on. . . . .


Could it be that partnership is the answer? Sometimes the more you have to define it, the less likely it will succeed. The question becomes how do you define workable partnership for the furniture industry? Let’s look at this from three points of view.

Manufacturers believe they can conceive a product that consumers would really want. They also feel they can produce that product on a timely basis at a level of quality that the consumer anticipates.

On the other hand, retailers believe consumers in their communities recognize the value that they as retailers can deliver at a level of service they expect. They also understand this purchase needs to be in an environment that makes the transaction a pleasant experience.

Consumers believe retailers should make a profit and also stand behind the products they sell. In addition, they expect the retailer to be a contributing member of the community and a supporter of the well being of society.

I know you’re asking to what utopia am I referring? The answer may be a version of utopia, because in reality the question becomes, how do we get each party to ‘own it’, to look at things from the other party’s perspective?

Or is it all over?

Many of traditional retailers and manufacturers competing are from distribution channels that do not have two distinct partners. In other words, the retailer is the manufacturer or the manufacturer is the retailer. As traditional retailers source more and more product offshore, will the channel just collapse? Who wins? Will our industry, perceived as low profit, emerge with this new structure?

What will we lose? I believe a great deal.


From the Editor : A Changing Tide

No one ever said change was easy. In fact, for most, it’s human nature to resist change. We tend to get comfy and cozy with the status quo. At least until the status quo becomes so static and uncomfortable that we’re eager for a few changes. Then, look out because we’ll go searching for a better way.

Surely by now you’ve heard our news about Home Furnishings Business being acquired by Impact Consulting Services of Atlanta. If not, I’ll write it off as it being summer and vacations and the ever-revolving market cycle our industry has us plowing through. That’s a wee bit of change for the team here at the magazine; a change of which we’re all very welcoming.

Personally, I’ve known Bob George, the owner of Impact Consulting, for close to 20 years, which is when I first joined this crazy industry as a reporter. He and I have been sparring through interviews for years. He has great stories to share of our many conversations and the information gleaned; just ask him!

We’re still working to tie all of the loose ends together of, but once those are knotted, our readers can look forward to a more powerful, more informative read from Home Furnishings Business both in print and online. Due to our quick publishing schedule in July, we weren’t able to implement some of the enhancements we’ve got tucked up our sleeves. Here’s promising some beefed-up reporting and storytelling coming your way in September.
One noticeable change we were able to turn around for this issue was a beefed up version of “What Sells” on page 37. We’ve taken industry statistics and data that Impact’s FurnitureCore has gathered on the youth furniture market and combined the data with what retailers tell us are they’re top-selling items. The figures and data—information we didn’t have access to prior to our June buyout—make for a more powerful feature packed with useful information for our readers.
Look for more meatier “What Sells” features in future issues. This will become our footprint for the department.
The breadth of information available through FurnitureCore is mind-boggling. While the HFB team doesn’t have complete, unfettered access to the data available on FurnitureCore, we’re excited about the industry information we will be able to use to inform you. Our mantra has long been to provide useful insight into the industry to help our readers improve their businesses. That will not change.

You should know that I am still trying to convince Bob that more sharing of data is the better way to go. So far though, he’s not buying it!
The other aspect of information sharing that has me giddy is the ability FurnitureCore has to tap into the consumer and what she wants and needs from her home furnishings and the shopping experience. How darn cool is that?!? We’ll be able to field questions to your end consumer.
Home Furnishings Business has a fun, bright future ahead, and as always, I look forward to your input and your part of the industry’s conversation.


Publisher's Letter : Why a Magazine?

Let’s get that question behind us. Simply put, the mission of the Impact Consulting group of companies is to integrate information into the management process of furniture retailers and manufacturers in order to create high performance companies.

We have accomplished our mission through management consulting (Impact Consulting), market research (, performance groups (Impact Performance Groups), industry reports (Impact Reports), and now publishing (Home Furnishings Business). The acquisition of Home Furnishings Business will complete the spectrum of information delivery. The following graphic illustrates:

What is the Objective?
First, Home Furnishings Business will continue its commitment to journalistic integrity by publishing an unbiased perspective of what is happening in the industry.
What will change is the depth of our discussion. Our masthead has been changed slightly from “Strategy for the Furniture Retailer” to include all industry participants.

The fine line between manufacturer and retailer has increasingly blurred.
Next, using our proprietary industry databases and models, we will address the strategic issues facing the total industry. In order to frame the issues, we ask for participation from the industry—retailers, manufacturers, and suppliers. We will supply the research. Our mission is to initiate a true dialogue within the industry, and we invite you to be a part of this dialogue.

What is the Publisher’s Role?
A publisher’s role is not unlike that of a president of a company or a managing partner of a consulting firm.

In the case of a magazine, it encompasses the responsibility for all aspects of the periodical from creating content to transmitting the product via print or the Internet all within the parameters of generating a return on investment. Overlaying all of this is a commitment to pursuing a mission within the parameters of a code of ethics.

This is our pledge to our readers. We are confident that this commitment long term will be the foundation of our success.

As always, we ask for your input. Teaming our readers’ input with our industry knowledge and analysis will allow us to continue building a strong industry publication.

Do not hesitate to contact me with your comments. My e-mail address is