‘Christmas on steroids’: bed retailers upbeat
The spending boom creating problems with furnishing sector supplies, prices and lead times could also be set to put many bed retailers back on track to meet 2020 budgets.
A survey of 40 NBF Retail Champions - retailers who stock at least 50% of beds made by NBF members – found that 57.5% of retailers expect to come in above budget by the end of the year, despite weeks of closure during lockdown.
Pent up spending from the pandemic crisis has seen a quarter of retailers saying takings are up by more than 40%. Some 80% said they are now doing better than last year.
‘After a devastating Spring when retailers were forced to shut up shop for the lockdown, the bounce back in sales has taken everyone by surprise. The furnishings sector as a whole has been an unexpected beneficiary of a pivot in spending from holidays to the home and it would appear that bed retailers are among those enjoying a boom that’s been described as being like “Christmas on steroids”,’ says Simon Williams, NBF marketing and membership manager.
Williams says the survey suggested a move to higher average selling prices as consumers choose more upmarket, better quality products.
‘Most families have not been able to take their usual holidays this year and also spent a lot of time in their homes. This has both heightened their awareness of what needs replacing and provided the “spare” cash to buy it.’
Only a third of bed retailers (32.5%) reported a shift towards online sales. Asked what is currently their biggest business challenge, the overwhelming majority of responses reflected the huge spike in sales creating difficulties with: keeping up with orders, finding a bigger van, shops not big enough and cashflow. Other challenges cited included uncertainty about COVID restrictions and extended lead times; staying open with staff having to self-isolate; juggling with buy today, delivered tomorrow expectations of customers; longer lead times and erratic deliveries.
The survey was undertaken between 1-9 October.