The new year should be better and reflect the improved housing activity of 2016, Epperson said. New home sales were up about 6% this past year, and existing home sales grew by about 8%. Now, “people will go out and decorate those China office furniture factory homes,” he said. Epperson was surprised the controversial election wasn’t reflected in the consumer confidence numbers “because it was pretty disgusting for everyone.” regardless of which candidate they were supporting for President. Asked if he believes Trump will be a positive force for the industry, Epperson said its difficult to say this early because “half of America thinks he’s OK, and half thinks he’s the devil incarnate.
“But I think as we get into next year after he gets into the White House, people are going to realize its not the end of the world, and “a degree of normal it will return.” There are a couple of head winds to worry about, though, primarily interest rates, which are going up and would have gone up no matter who was elected, he said.” That will impact us because mortgage rates will go up, and that’s not going China conference desk manufacturer to accelerate housing.” The industry also has been spoiled by the low cost of carrying inventory in a low-interest rate environment and all that will change, too, he said.
Nevertheless, Epperson believes the positives will outweigh the negatives in 2017, and if the economy sees the 2.4% to 3% growth that Epperson said the smart money is projecting, the furniture industry will have a decent year. “It will be a combination of that growth and the reflection of income gains, household formations and housing activity that happened in 2016,” he said. Forward with optimism in an October High Point Market poll, Michael Cohen, the new president of Walker Furniture in Las Vegas, said he was probably going to vote for Hilary Clinton and expected many others would, too, even though they didn’t want to say so. But “when it came time to pull the switch,just the opposite happened,” Cohen Guangzhou negotiation desk provider said later, and he figured many voters decided they were more worried about Obama care and the Washington establishment.
Cohen remains optimistic about 2017, partly because this new President is so business friendly and likely to surround himself with successful people from the private sector holding the kind of experience that “should translate into more prosperous times.” There are other market-related factors playing into Cohen’s optimism, including plans for a National Hockey League expansion team in Las Vegas, which would be the markets first professional sports franchise. On top of this, the city also will get an NBA team in the next few years, he said, and the NFUs Oakland Raiders are seriously mulling a move to Las Vegas. Add all that up, and “I see nothing but huge market growth,” Cohen said. “Sure there will be more competitors coming to town, and they’ll be aggressive and sharp, which is great. But we have a 60-year history, and by running our business smartly we should get our fair share.
He added that Walker’s own growth plans also will contribute to its success next year, but he couldn’t elaborate at press time. Houston’s Galleiy Furniture ended up giving away a lot of its 2016 profits in a promotion that refunded $10 million in mattress sales to participating customers who those Republican as the winning party in the Presidential election. But business has been good, said co-owner Jim Mclngvale, even if the bottom line wasn’t and the oil-dependent economy stniggled. “We take the good with the bad, and with this (mattress) promotion, we’ve had a good year.” he said. “We’ve enriched a lot of customers and have been able to get our third location going pretty strong We’ve got some great new employees, so this year has been pretty good for us.”
Mclngvale is another who believes a Trump presidency will be good for the industry “because he’s going to figure out a way to get the country growing again.”
“If you can find a way to get more people employed in this country, people are going to spend more money. They’re going to feel better about spending more money, and it will be good for retailers.”