Miscellaneous Homefurnishings Stores

SIC 5719

Companies in this industry

Industry report:

Establishments in this industry are primarily engaged in the retail sale of miscellaneous home furnishings, such as china, glassware, and metalware for kitchen and table use; bedding and linen; brooms and brushes; lamps and shades; mirrors and pictures; Venetian blinds; and window shades. Establishments primarily engaged in the retail sale of miscellaneous home furnishings by house-to-house canvas or by party-plan merchandising are classified in SIC 5963: Direct Selling Establishments.

Businesses involved in the sale of miscellaneous home furnishings are as varied as the goods they sell to consumers. They offer everything needed to furnish a home from kitchenware to linens and lamps and shades to Venetian blinds and window shades. According to Dun & Bradstreet, 20,885 miscellaneous home furnishing stores employed 141,368 people in the United States in 2010. Together these firms generated $21.2 billion in sales. A majority of businesses were small, although more than 66 percent of industry revenues came from firms with more than 100 employees. California had the most establishments in the industry, with 2,883, followed by Florida with 1,752; Texas with 1,710; and New York with 1,328. New Jersey was the number-one state in terms of revenues, accounting for $8.0 billion or about 38 percent of total sales. Other top-earning states included California ($4.4 billion), Texas ($2.7 billion), and Florida ($1.7 billion).

Of the several different types of retailers that sold home furnishings, one was the specialty retailer, which attracted upscale consumers. These stores could be independent operators or part of a chain and provided quality merchandise with moderate price tags. However, price was not all that attracted customers. Specialty retailers tended to carry unusual and distinctive items that drew consumers who could not find them anywhere else. Independently owned specialty stores, which held the sales-per-square foot crown with a median of $339 in the 2000s, varied in terms of the products they sold--whether it be cutlery, pottery, lamps, lampshades, window treatments, draperies, or kitchenware. Consumers could find such stores in shopping centers and malls, along commercial highways, or in country towns and back-road, cottage-style boutiques. Because home furnishings cover such a broad spectrum of products and prices, and because modern distribution methods brought items manufactured halfway around the world to the smallest American town, this industry performed well throughout the late twentieth century.

Growth in sales of furniture and other household equipment was steady during the 1990s. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, sales figures for each year between 1984 and 1997 never varied by more than 10 percent. In 1997, there were approximately 18,661 miscellaneous home furnishings stores, which employed an estimated 135,359 people and had sales of $14.3 billion.

By 2001, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were an estimated 17,384 establishments engaged in the retail sale of miscellaneous home furnishings. There were 174,026 people working within this industry with an annual payroll of $2.7 billion. The total number of home furnishings retailers had risen to 24,059 in 2003, according to D&B Sales & Marketing Solutions, but there were fewer employees, with 151,371. The home furnishings industry posted $78 billion in sales for 2002.

The home furnishing market saw steady demand in the mid-2000s due to the strong economy and booming housing market. Also contributing to the success of home furnishings sales was the fact that they could be purchased seemingly anywhere. Discount stores, as well as department stores, stocked a wide variety of items for the consumer, and their prices varied with the brand name and the type of store that sold them.

By the late 2000s, however, the industry was suffering along with most other U.S. retailers due to the economic recession that began in late 2007. According to the 2009 "State of the Industry" report by Home Furnishings News, (HFN) the home furnishings industry experienced declines of 2.3 percent and 4.4 percent, respectively, in 2007 and 2008; as for 2009: "everyone in the home furnishings business had a pretty tough year." Of the five main categories of products classified by HFN (furniture, housewares, textiles, tabletop, and floor covering), none showed gains. However, products related to the kitchen and cooking fared better than other categories, due in part to Americans' tendency to eat at home more during recessionary times. Industry participants were cautiously optimistic in 2010.

One of the most important trends in the industry coming out of the late 2000s was the increasing market share claimed by mass merchandisers. By the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century, Wal-Mart was the largest retailer of home furnishings in the United States. According to Home Textiles Today, home textile sales totaled more than $3.7 billion for the discount giant in 2008. Bed Bath & beyond was second in home textiles sales, followed by J.C. Penney and Target.

In the overall miscellaneous home furnishings industry, number-one Wal-Mart faced competition from other department stores and discount stores as well, including Sears, Kohl's, Macy's, and Dollar General Stores. Bed Bath & Beyond held the top spot as the largest domestic superstore in the United States, having lost competitor Linens N Things to bankruptcy in 2008. Bed Bath & Beyond operated about 995 stores in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico and recorded sales of $7.8 billion in 2009. Williams-Sonoma Inc. was another significant player in the industry, selling home goods through retail shops such as Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, Williams-Sonoma, Williams-Sonoma Home, and West Elm as well as through catalogs and online stores. Overall sales for Williams-Sonoma reached $3.1 billion in 2009. Other industry leaders included Pier 1 Imports Inc. with 2009 sales of $1.2 billion; Michaels Stores Inc. with $3.8 billion; Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. with $1.8 billion; Cost Plus Inc. with $869.4 million; and The Bombay Company Inc. with $536.3 million.

According to Dun & Bradstreet, kitchenware accounted for the majority of establishments in the industry in 2010, with 2,120 stores and $4.4 billion in sales. About 1,721 miscellaneous home furnishing stores generated $231.9 million in sales; 1,550 housewares stores earned $988.8 million, and 883 bedding and linen stores had sales of $7.9 billion. Other significant categories included window furnishings, with 1,508 stores and $416.2 million in sales; lighting fixtures, with 1,044 stores and $756.8 million in sales; and linens, with 852 stores and $1.2 billion in sales.

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News and information about Miscellaneous Homefurnishings Stores

At home with France.
Gifts & Decorative Accessories; September 1, 1985; 336 words
...conjunction with the exhibit. Gift and homefurnishings buyers viewed 68 decorative accessories...lighting, fabric, household linen and miscellaneous manufacturers. Much of the merchandise...the Three Days of France events in stores on State St.

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