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Bold 2024 Predictions

Furniture World Magazine


Colorful insights into what may happen each month at retail in 2024 and what you should do to prepare.


Stranger than Truth! Amazing Predictions! Whether you browse the headlines of Weekly World News or glance at the National Enquirer when purchasing groceries, chances are that you will soon see headlines touting the BOLD REVELATIONS for 2024!

I would rather cast my fortune on rolling boxcars three times in a row at Caesars Palace during the Vegas Market than believe what the tabloids print, but that hasn’t stopped me from making my own bold monthly 2024 predictions for our home furnishing industry. I encourage you to save a copy of this edition in a safe place and check back with me during the 2025 Rose Bowl Parade to see how many I get right!

January: Small interest rate changes will translate into big furniture and mattress store business opportunities. Look for a drop in mortgage rates. Even a half-percent causes people to buy homes and the furniture to fill them. A one percent drop in the prime rate means lower consumer finance rates to promote extended free financing. A two-percent drop means it’s time to build a new store, warehouse facility or delivery vehicle.

February: Tax attack! W-2s got sent out in January, so shoppers are at H&R Block or TurboTax filing their returns and dreaming of refunds. You’ll see them browsing your store, ready to spend once their checks arrive. You can attract be-backs and new shoppers in February with a “$99 starts any sale” promo. Collect a small deposit to hold the price of any product. When the refunds come in, so will paying customers.

March: Look out for changes in personnel this month! More than 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age every day. That means experienced sales and operations people may be thinking about packing it in. You may be caught shorthanded if you don’t have succession plans! The good news is that some of those 10,000 rock ‘n’ rollers are looking for part-time second careers. March is a wonderful time to add great folks looking to work 15-25 hours a week.

April: The “slow boat” didn’t come in! It’s hard to believe that in April 2024, most retailers will still be staking their business fortunes on shipments from a limited number of suppliers, resulting in significant international or other exposure. By then, you may have sold off samples in anticipation of receiving shiny new merchandise ordered at the High Point or Vegas shows. Maybe your phone will be ringing with customer complaints regarding undelivered merchandise. International uncertainty requires that retailers plan for supply-chain slowdowns. Consider setting up a reward system guarantee for shoppers who will be disappointed should you fail to meet your delivery promises (perhaps a $500 in store credit) along with a punishment system for vendors who over-promise and under-deliver. Try to negotiate 90-day terms if they ship late or a 5% discount on the invoice for late shipments. If your vendors are true partners, they should consider it. Also, plan for supply backups should major suppliers unexpectedly file for Chapter 11.

May: Memorial Day sales will be huge. But that’s the last week of the month. Winning retailers will promote gifts for upcoming Mother’s Day, weddings, and graduations. I’m talking about mattress sets, dining furniture, and living room packages. Forward-thinking retailers will create and promote an online wedding or graduation gift registry, so happy grads or couples can sign up and share their wish lists with friends and loved ones.

June: Family vacation season will steal your sales. It’s a fact. Post-pandemic travel spending has reduced discretionary dollars spent on furniture and bedding. The choice is yours. You can stare at the four walls of your store. Or choose from one of these: Promote staycations featuring overstuffed family room furniture, offer no payments until September, or go whole hog and give away a vacation package with a minimum purchase.

“In June the choice is yours. You can stare at the four walls of your store. Or choose from one of these: Promote staycations featuring overstuffed family room furniture, offer no payments until September; or go whole hog...”

July: Many more store managers will declare independence from the fear that their trusted office manager or data entry clerk will quit. That’s because they will have taken the time to learn how to use their point-of-sale systems and to perform essential clerical duties that allow their stores to function. That way, they will be able to survive (albeit temporarily) without office employees who either hold them hostage or quit, due to unforeseen circumstances. End fear in your store in July by learning how to mail packages, turn on the lights and tie your shoelaces! And if you are a store or factory owner, learn those functions yourself!

August: By the eighth month, one of your local competitors will give up and burn out with one of those whiz-bang wall-to-wall sell-offs. Or, one of those national behemoth chains will pick your town for expansion. Either of these situations can disrupt your business and steal market share. You don’t have to be the next store with garish yellow and black posters in your windows. If the NBA playoffs are done by now (they seem to last forever!), you will have heard that “the best defense is a good offense” at least four score times! Go on offense and give 110 percent!

September: It’s a season you want to greet. Sure, the first week of the month will be so hot that the Christmas candy will melt at Walmart. Remember that the most important ‘seasons’ for furniture retailers can’t be found in an almanac. They are baseball playoff season and the college and professional football seasons. That means TV time and, more importantly, recliners! Have them in stock and ready to go. Selling recliners doesn’t restrict you to sub-$500 sales. Why not give them away free with select family room furniture or premium mattress sets?

October: Vote “NO” to sales slowdowns! The November presidential elections may seem far away, but starting in October, you will have trouble purchasing radio and TV time. Whoever the candidates are, their spending will look like a nuclear arms race on steroids! Your loyal TV and radio stations will drop you like a third-party candidate to reap the rich monetary rewards the Dems and GOP bestow on them. Fewer people read the newspaper, and local candidates will jam the USPS with junk mail. Pick your advertising source and invest heavily.

November: After the election votes have been counted, 51% of the electorate will be happy. Eventually, most cries of election fraud and foul play will somewhat abate. History shows we will see spirits rise along with the stock market and overall well-being expectations. I predict that 51% of vendors and retailers will take advantage of these good feelings and promote heavily. The remainder will grumble, and half of those grumblers will not see 2026!

December: Some things just won’t fit down the chimney. Try as we might, we have not convinced the public that a new sofa, mattress, recliner, or dresser, has a place under that decorated tree. Our customers prefer to waste their money on TVs, jewelry, and clothes. Since coat racks and silent butlers (does anyone still make those?) don’t bring in sales. I predict that some smart manufacturers will help retailers promote Christmas items like TV consoles and jewelry armoires by offering them at hot prices and offering retailers extended terms (March 2025) on the unsold inventory. It will foster mutual trust and partnership between vendors and retailers that will last throughout the New Year.

On second thought, I am taking that last prediction back!

“In October: Vote “NO” to sales slowdowns! The November presidential elections may seem far away, but starting in October, you will have trouble purchasing radio and TV time.”

About Gordon Hecht: Gordon Hecht is a business growth and development consultant to the retail home furnishings industry. You can reach him at Gordon.hecht@aol.com