The State of Retail 2022
What a whirlwind of a few years it has been. A virus emerges, the world shuts down. Our business was closed for about a month, but fortunately we didn’t lose any loved ones and neither did any of our employee’s families. Fast forward 2 years later and we are all still dealing with the aftermath of this devastating pandemic. But let’s tighten the lense to what’s happening in the furniture industry.
In 2020, people were at home. This became the new normal. “WFH” (Work from Home) became more popular, and necessary. Children were home from school. People began doing life in their outdoor living spaces. The busy schedules came to a screeching halt. As a society, spending more time at home meant focusing more on our homes. It became the most important place to spend our time and to make memories. That entailed buying new pieces of furniture and redecorating. This new redecorating trend did not just happen locally, but on a global scale. If you could go to local stores you did, if you couldn’t, people were placing orders online. By the millions. This led to massive supply and demand issues.
People were not able to work. When they were able to go back, many chose not to causing major workforce shortages. So many manufacturers were closed for extended periods, causing major backlog in their manufacturing. Items that used overseas components were experiencing supply shortages. The US ports were closed and then only operating with a skeleton crew. Cargo boats were stacked up in the ocean awaiting ports. A worldwide shortage of shipping containers emerged.
And then in February, the “snow apocalypse” happened. The state of Texas was hit with a major ice storm that the typically warmer regions were simply incapable of handling. Manufacturers of a particular type of resin and other products were damaged and had to shut down. A month prior to this, one of the other manufacturers burned down. A total loss. This resulted in months of this very important product not being produced. This particular product goes into the materials that make foam for the entire upholstery industry. Also, the resin that goes into making poly furniture, which is plastic that is melted down for outdoor furniture. Lead times went from weeks to months to a year overnight.
Now, it is March 2022. All of these issues remain, however the industry as a whole is working hard to alleviate the issues. Most manufacturers have tried to take on more laborers. The plants have looked to other sources to order their parts. Rising gas prices continue to be an issue with shipping costs. The entire industry has had to pivot and be creative with new ways to build the furniture and have it delivered to the customer.
WHAT ABOUT ROCKWOOD?
We as a company were so blessed to have experienced record sales in 2021. While we have had the same long lead times and industry issues as most larger retailers, we have learned to have patience and look at creative solutions for our customers. We spend hours looking for companies that have quality items that we can have delivered quickly. We have tried to keep our stock supply healthy, enabling customers the ability to take home items off the floor. We are keeping constant contact with our suppliers, trying to get our customers the product that they ordered in a timely manner. All the while still maintaining exceptional customer service.
While these times may be challenging, and some days it seems that no end is in sight, we want our customers to know that we are so grateful for them. Without them, we would not be a company. And we take pride in the fact that they continue to choose Rockwood Furniture Co. for their home needs.