If the past two years have taught us anything, it’s that unpredictability rules the day. Still, as we leave one year behind and enter a new one, it’s worth taking a look at the ups and downs of home furnishings retail in 2021 and exploring how those market forces will shape the year to come. In this four-part series, Retail Watch columnist Warren Shoulberg is taking stock of the current state of play, the characteristics that will define success in 2022, retail winners (and losers) amid the current climate, and which companies are on track to make waves. Here, he rounds out the four-part series by identifying the brands to watch this year.
There’s an old legend that the origin of the word “news” is an acronym spelling out the four directional points of the compass: north, east, west, south. As myths go, it’s a good one—and for our purposes here, it’s quite apropos. Indeed, in looking at the six most newsworthy retailers of home furnishings products this year, one must look in all directions. These retailers represent many different formats and business models, yet each brings to 2022 a sense that what they do over the next 12 months will mean a great deal for both their individual businesses as well as the overall home furnishings retailing sector. No doubt there are others who will be newsworthy, but these six are the ones I’m keeping my eye on.
If your image of Ikea is held from the days of funny-named furniture that was basic beyond basic, incredibly cheap and often not very sturdy, this is not your Baby Boomers’ Ikea anymore. Ikea has traded up its quality and design, and while it still maintains those giant stores on the edges of cities, the company now also offers more modest urban locations, smaller design studios and all kinds of specialized resource centers. Even more, it is now renting furniture, recycling its products and setting them up for resale. The Swedish giant is taking sustainability and eco-friendliness to new levels, not just far beyond its prior practices but ahead of what just about anybody else in the furniture business is doing.
In short, if you don’t have Ikea on your radar, you need to reset your dial. It are not just one of the largest furniture sellers in the country—it is a company that is constantly innovating, and have the means to test out loads of retail strategies. You need to know, understand and respect Ikea accordingly.
2. Bed Bath & Beyond
The biggest wild card in the broader home furnishings sector is Bed Bath & Beyond. While the company isn’t …….