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Store sales fall for 2020

22 February 2021
By the Numbers, Retail

OTTAWA – Considering most stores were closed to walk-in traffic for as long as six to eight weeks across much of the country during the second quarter, brick-and-mortar furniture stores didn’t lose all that much ground in 2020, the latest figures from Statistics Canada seem to show.

In last week’s Monthly Retail Trade Survey – which measures only location-based or brick-and-mortar retail – the national bean counter estimated actual (not seasonally adjusted) furniture store sales at a preliminary $1.15 billion for December 2020. While this was 8% lower than the $1.26 billion rung-up in November, it was a 5.9% improvement from the $1.09 billion for December 2019.

Many observers attributed the month-over-month decline to emerging supply chain issues and forecast furniture stores are likely to suffer in the first quarter of 2021 until they are resolved.

It should also be noted that while the survey doesn’t measure sales by pure-play e-commerce specialists such as Article or, it does include e-commerce sales by brick-and-mortar furniture merchants.

For the calendar year 2020, furniture store sales were estimated at $11.65 billion, down 1.7% from the $11.83 billion for 2019.

Meanwhile, sales by brick-and-mortar home furnishings stores – which sell everything from floor covering to lamps and lighting, decorative accessories and accent furniture – had preliminary and actual sales of $803.5 million in December. This was up 1.8% from November’s $745.7 million, giving further credence to the belief these merchants do a fairly brisk Holiday Season business.

It was also 15.2% higher than $697.8 million recorded for December 2019.

For the full year, home furnishing store sales were set at $6.45 billion, down 8.6% from the prior year’s $7.06 billion.

While there month-over-month sales fell in December, electronics and appliance stores performed comparatively well during the year of the pandemic. For the month, Statistics Canada pegged their actual and preliminary sales at $1.97 billion, off 2$ from the $2.0 billion for November 2019. But it was 8.4% higher than the $1.82 billion sold in December 2019.

For the year, electronic/appliance stores had total sales of $14.87 billion, up 8.3% from the $13.04 billion rung-up during 2019.

EQ3 building Winnipeg flagship

22 February 2021
Furniture, Retail

WINNIPEG – Contemporary furniture manufacturer and retailer EQ3 is expected to unveil a new flagship store here later this year when developer Cadillac Fairview completes the renovation of its Polo Park shopping centre, a number of media outlets have reported over the past few days.

EQ3 will take over the lower floor of what was most recently this city’s largest Sears Canada store which closed in December 2017, a few weeks prior to the department store chain’s complete demise the following month.

The retailer, which is owned by Palliser Furniture, currently operates an 11,000 square foot store at the corner of this city’s Portage Avenue and St. James Street. When completed later this summer, the new flagship store will occupy about 44,000 square feet, becoming the largest in the 17-store chain (12 in Canada, the rest in the U.S.)

An artist’s rendering of the new EQ3 store currently being built in Winnipeg’s Polo Park shopping centre.Palliser president and chef executive officer Peter Tielmann told the Winnipeg Free Press the company has been negotiating with the developer for the past three years and, if anything, the pandemic has forced them to accelerate their plans as it has proven a boon to most home goods producers and retailers.

“Almost all our problems were good problems to have, like demand rising and causing supply issues,” he told the Free Press. “And especially if you were able to get the ball rolling quickly on your e-commerce early on, your furniture business would’ve likely been in good shape.”

Tielmann admitted Palliser’s overall shipments have sagged over the pandemic, consumer demand has risen although not from traditional brick-and-mortar sales. E-commerce revenue for EQ3 has reported climbed by as much as 150% over the course of 2020 while most of its physical stores were closed as part of ongoing public health measures.

He also said now is the right time to be thinking about the future. “What the pandemic did though is it fast-tracked everything for us,” Tielmann was quoted as saying. “We had to make some difficult decisions early in 2020 when things were locked down, but once we started to understand how this virus worked, we started moving ahead in a very positive way on some key ideas that were already being planned out.”

The new Polo Park flagship will combine the digital experience in a brick-and-mortar setting, with some concessions to post-pandemic realities. For example, EQ3 has already installed plexiglass barriers and hand-sanitizer stations “with a space just right for exact social-distancing,” according to Tielmann.

“We’re trying to do something different here that blends into a full experience for the customer –   it’ll have a café, it’ll have very integrated technology that allows you to feel products, but also large touchable screens that will allow you to visualize how they will look in your home, right there and then when you shop,” he noted.

While almost every important Canadian furniture, mattress and major appliance retailer has at least one store in Winnipeg, there are few in the Polo Park mall.

EQ3 president Mark Letain told Retail Insider the new Polo Park store will give the retailer an opportunity to spread its wings. “We decided that given where our product line is headed and where we want to go in the future with deepening into our product line and extending our product line let’s try a larger format prototype. We’ve seen that work with Restoration Hardware and folks like that. So, we decided to do it in our home city;” he told them recently.

“We really want to use this store to highlight our brand and inform people of our brand. A lot of folks don’t know we’re a made-in-Manitoba story. Some people don’t know we’re actually Canadian,” he said. “So, we really want to highlight our roots and we also want to highlight in that store this idea of buy local. Not only are we going to represent our own product line there, which is made in Winnipeg, our upholstery line, but we’re also going to feature products that are made from other local manufacturers and we’re working on that and we’re really excited about that. We also want to highlight Canadian designers.” 

Related Story: Canadian by Design brings EQ3 flagship store to New York City

Related Story: EQ3 adds U.S. stores

CabinetBed adds antimicrobial coating to entire casegoods line

22 February 2021
Furniture, Mattresses, Manufacturing

ABBOTSFORD, British Columbia – Specialty case goods producer CabinetBed recently announced its has added a new enhanced antimicrobial coating to the wood frame of every one of its unique Murphy beds.

In a statement, Mark Carruthers, the company’s director of international sales and marketing, said as part of an effort to offer both retailers and consumers to safest coatings available, the company is now using KCI-AMA, an antimicrobial coating made by Katilac Coatings, a Woodbridge, Ontario based firm that specialises in making coatings for a variety of applications.

CabinetBed will apply a  new antimicrobial coating to the wood frames of each of the unique Murphy beds it produces, such as the one seen here.Katilac noted KCI-AMA offers long-term protection against a wide range of pathogens including disease-causing germs – both bacteria and viruses – as well as mould and fungus. It is non-leaching, non-toxic and certified for use in both Canada and the United States.

‘We normally launch new products at a market, but with the borders still closed we decided to introduce two new models – the Barn and the Rustic,” Carruthers said. “With the rising costs of freight from overseas and supply chain issues, more and more retailers across North America are starting to see the value of buying Canadian-made products and not only because of the quality but because the price differences are not as great as they once were.” 




Ameriwood launches wall bed line under Signature Sleep brand

22 February 2021
Furniture, Manufacturing

CORNWALL, Ontario – Ameriwood Home, one of the six furniture and mattress brands operated by Dorel Industries, is launching a new line of wall beds under the Signature Sleep label, primarily for the e-commerce market.

In a statement, the company said it is launching the product as part of an effort to cover as many categories of the sleep comfort market as possible. The new assortment of wall beds will be available to purchase in bundles with a Signature Sleep mattress or sold individually.

“This is a category Ameriwood Home has been researching for a while and now more than ever seems like the perfect time to provide consumers with flexible furniture,” said Ray Toal, vice president of e-commerce sales and marketing, adding a recent market survey noted that over the next four years, 36.2 million Americans will be working remotely meaning the way consumers live, learn and work is forever going to change.

Dorel’s Ameriwood Home division has launched a new collection of wall beds under the Signature Sleep label that will be shipped to selected e-commerce retailers this spring.“The need for multipurpose rooms will become a stronger demand as we adapt to these changes. Wall beds allow for a room to be an office, meditation zone, or workout space by day and a bedroom by night,” he explained. “The new wall bed line also shows its worth for the micro-living trend that began pre-pandemic and is still going strong. The idea of gaining back space in a small area is vital for anyone with a loft or studio apartment. You get to enjoy the luxury of a queen-sized bed and stay true to micro-living with a small footprint by recouping that space when folding up your sleeping quarters.”

The new assortment will start with a queen-sized bed in three top-selling colors. The built-in gas piston system makes deployment and storage of these beds effortless. The wall beds are constructed with a sturdy metal mattress frame, wood mattress supports, and laminated manufactured wood cabinetry to make for a durable and attractive product to live among any room of the home.

Toal also noted a full line of wall beds is in development with daybed options and an expansion of looks with robust wall systems complete with cabinets, nightstands, lighting, and more. The assortment will compliment Ameriwood’s existing collections. The first shipments of queen wall beds will be sent to selected e-commerce retailers in early April.

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Home Goods and its accompanying newsletter - HGO This Week - covers the furniture, bedding, appliances, consumer electronics, accessories, lamps and lighting and floor coverings product sectors of the big ticket home goods market in Canada. HGO is also a forum for the dissemination of market research and hard-hitting articles on best practices for Canadian retailers.

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