How do inventory, sales match up in the case goods category?

HIGH POINT — There is plenty of case goods inventory on hand for the remainder of 2022, and most sales budgets for the year are likely to be met, albeit some have been adjusted to account for lower demand.

The Strategic Insights/Furniture Today exclusive 2022 Case Goods Survey found 61% of retailer respondents were adequately stocked with case goods through the end of the year, with an additional 26% saying they were overstocked.

Of those acknowledging an overstocked situation, nearly all of them (90%) cited bedroom as a category with excess inventory, followed by casual dining (80%) and youth bedroom and formal dining (50% each).

Reflecting on case goods sales this year, about 11% felt sales would be higher than their original budget, with 26% expecting to meet their projected goal.

However, as shopping levels subsided after a strong 2021 and inflationary pressure rose during the year, nearly 40% of retailers said they’ve adjusted their case goods sales goal during the year to take into account reduced demand from shoppers, and about 24% said they were likely to miss their original sales target for 2022.

Looking at the case good product mix among retailers, there were some slight changes from the previous survey taken two years ago. Based on 2021 inventory and sales:

  • Master bedroom is still the leader, accounting for 44% of sales in 2021 vs. 43% in 2019.
  • Casual dining slipped by a couple of percentage points to 21%.
  • “Other” grew to 13% from 10%.
  • Formal dining stayed steady at 14%.
  • Youth bedroom sales as a share of the total case good category dropped to 8% in 2021 from 10% in 2019.

The popularity of major style categories also remained similar to the survey taken two year ago: casual — which encompasses coastal, rustic, lodge and transitional styles — is still the sales leader, followed by contemporary, catch-all for Art Deco, Mid-Century Modern, Scandinavian and more.

Holding the No. 3 and No. 4 styles spots were traditional, which embraces the colonial, formal and Victorian designs; and country, which includes cottage, Shaker, and English and French country furniture.

When asked about design and product trends and features, respondents pointed to a move toward simple, clean lines; soft-close drawers; the addition of technology such as speakers, lights, outlets and USB ports; and unique storage options.

There was less consensus on wood tones, however, with some saying gray was gaining popularity, while others saw its impact waning. Woods cited as trending ranged from pine, elm and maple to alder, hickory and walnut.

And while some championed rustic white finishes, others were advocating for various brown tones from deep espresso to lighter oaks.

Imported case goods made up a larger share of the category than those produced in the United States, led by the casual dining category with 72% of product sold made outside the United States. Two-thirds of the master bedroom furniture was imported and nearly as much formal dining (64%) and youth bedroom furniture (62%) was non-domestic as well.

Methodology:

The Strategic Insights/Furniture Today Case Goods Survey polled retailers in the home furnishings industry that sell case goods during August and September 2022. Respondents represent full-line and specialty furniture and bedding retail outlets. The research was conducted and analyzed by Strategic Insights.

For the survey, price points were as follows: high ($5,000 and above); upper-middle ($2,500 to $4,999); middle ($1,000 to $2,499); low ($999 or less). Based on the small sample size, the survey results are considered qualitative rather than quantitative.

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How do inventory, sales match up in the case goods category?