Furniture in the News

The furniture industry is constantly changing. New companies and innovations are announced. Venerable brands declare bankruptcy, close factories or lay off workers.

New products are introduced. Old products are recalled. “Furniture in the News” allows my readers to keep up-to-date with the latest innovations and be ahead of potential problems like store/factory closings and supply chain challenges.

Most of the news summaries are excerpted from Furniture Today, the leading trade publication for the residential furniture industry. My updates will appear at random intervals, including only those news items I consider most interesting to the general public.

Trustpilot investigates Maker&Son For False Reviews

BY Jeff Frank

maker son

Online review platform Trustpilot has launched an investigation against furniture brand Maker&Son over activity against its guidelines for use.

The investigation, which remains ongoing, is in relation to Maker&Son’s Trustpilot page and behaviour by the business on the platform, which has found evidence that the business has been making legal threats to consumers in a bid to “pressure and intimidate” them into deleting their negative reviews on Trustpilot.
A statement from Trustpilot said:
“This is a clear violation of our Guidelines for Businesses – guidelines every business agrees to adhere to when signing up to use Trustpilot – and behaviour we take extremely seriously. As a result, and in line with our Action We Take policy, we have issued a formal Cease & Desist notice to Maker & Son, explaining that we do not tolerate this type of behaviour on our platform and demanding they cease with immediate effect. “You may have seen that Maker&Son already had a Consumer Warning on their Trustpilot page, alerting consumers that we have identified and removed fake reviews on their page. “In light of the legal threats they have sent to reviewers, and in line with our processes, we have now also updated the Consumer Warning to inform consumers of the business’s misbehaviour and attempts to manipulate the platform. “It is worth stressing that our investigation into activity on Maker&Son’s Trustpilot page, and behaviour by the business on the platform, is ongoing and as a result, if we find further evidence, we may take further enforcement action where required. “Additionally we are also seeing evidence of reviewers abusing the platform through creating multiple reviewer accounts and detecting multiple reviews being written from the same location – which contravenes our Guidelines for Reviewers. “All businesses and consumers are treated equally on Trustpilot’s platform and through our reporting processes, and any views to suggest otherwise are simply not true.”

Ocean freight carriers made more money in 2021 than in the past 20 years combined

BY Jeff Frank

Cargo ship

Ocean freight carriers made more money in 2021 than in past 20 years combined

Summarized from an article by ROBERT (BOBBY)//Senior Editor of Case Goods and Global Sourcing//June 22, 2022

WASHINGTON – Logistics costs across all industries in the U.S. hit $1.85 trillion in 2021, a 22.4% increase over 2020. The number represents 8% of 2021’s $23 trillion GDP. Spending on ocean freight transit rose 23.6% for the year.

Industry analyst urges Furniture retailers not to drop prices

BY Jeff Frank

Pressured to drop prices because consumers aren’t buying? Don’t do it, urges industry analyst.

March 3, 2023
As a result, furniture retailers and distributors are trying to decide whether it's now time to unload their excess inventories at prices that reflect the current lower costs. Industry analysis and consulting firm Smith Leonard is urging manufacturers and retailers to maintain higher profit margins rather than reducing prices to reflect lower product costs. The report stated, “It was proven during the past couple of years that furniture can be sold to consumers at reasonable [higher] prices, especially since they proved that they do not know what a piece should cost. So, wholesalers, manufacturers and retailers should not give up the reasonable [higher profit] margins that they were able to obtain in the past couple of years.”  

Nectar Mattress Wins Product of the Year award

BY Jeff Frank

Summarized from an article by Sheila Long O’Mara, Executive Editor, Furniture Today, February 21, 2023

The Nectar Premier mattress was recently honored with a Product of the Year award.
The annual Product of the Year USA Awards are out, and Resident Home’s Nectar Premier mattress took honors as the best product in the mattress category.

Product of the Year is a consumer-voted award for production innovation in 36 categories, including a variety of consumer goods. Winners are determined through a national study of 40,000 American shoppers in partnership with Kantar, a consumer research group.

The Premier mattress features cooling technology and five layers bundled in a breathable cover with temperature regulating polyethylene fibers for a cool-to-the-touch feel.

Nectar Premier’s foam layers include 3 inches of gel-infused memory foam with ActiveCool phase change material, 3 inches of response foam for spinal alignment, and a 7-inch ActiveSupport base layer, covered with a shift-resistant lower cover. All foams used in Nectar mattresses are CertiPur-US certified.

Serta Simmons Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection

BY Jeff Frank

Summarized from a Furniture Today article by Sheila Long O’Mara//Executive Editor.

Doraville, Ga.-based Serta Simmons Bedding will close its third factory this year later this month.

Serta Simmons Bedding and 13 of its U.S. affiliates filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Serta Simmons Bedding announced the filing was “voluntary” and “pre-arranged.” SSB has entered into a restructuring support agreement with “key financial stakeholders” to reduce the company’s debt and all the company to “continue making critical investments in its business and brands.”

In the filing, the company lists its liabilities at between $1 billion and $10 billion, and its assets as between $1 billion and $10 billion.

Owned by Advent International, SSB also includes two of the mattress segments most iconic brands. In addition to Serta and Simmons, online brand Tuft & Needle,  acquired in 2018, is also part of the company’s portfolio.

According to the company, the restructuring agreement will reduce the company’s funded debt from about $1.9 billion to about $300 million and allow SSB to continue investing in its business. The company has received a commitment for a $125 million exit asset-based lending (ABL) credit line available upon SSB’s emergence from Chapter 11.

The company has also obtained a debtor-in-possession financing in the form of a $125 million ABL credit line. If the court approves the new financing, the company said it will use the funds along with about $170 million of cash on hand, and cash generated from ongoing operations to support its business.

SSB is seeking court approval to support its operations, including paying employee wages and benefits and to support customer programs and product warranties, during the restructuring proceedings.

In addition, the company has asked the court’s permission to pay suppliers for goods and services provided prior to the filing. In its statement, the company said it is operating as normal and continues to serve its retailer partners and factories are filling orders.

Major Asian Furniture Manufacturer Slashes Prices for Customers

BY Jeff Frank

Four Hands
Summarized from a Furniture Today article by Jean Marie Layton//Senior Editor for Upholstery

Four Hands is one of the largest Asian furniture manufacturers.

The brand introduces over 2000 new products annually, in virtually every low and mid-range furniture category, selling container load quantities to major U.S. furniture retailers.

For the first time in the company’s history, Four Hands will be passing on a universal price decrease to its customers. As inbound ocean freight rates have drastically come down, Four Hands will be passing on this savings to its customers.

According to the company, prices will decrease by an average of 10%, with the largest price decreases found on bulky items that are most affected by ocean freight for transport. Over the past few years, inflationary pressures have strongly impacted the supply chain, especially ocean freight rates. The price decrease is expected to continue until further notice.

Bed in a Box Manufacturer, Classic Brands Forced Out of Business

BY Jeff Frank

Summarized from a Furniture Today article by Sheila Long O’Mara//Executive Editor, Furniture Today//January 19, 2023

One of the early pioneers in the boxed bed category, Classic Brands has shuttered its doors, and its assets are being liquidated, a casualty of the pandemic, anti-dumping and tariffs. The assignee working to liquidate the company’s assets and accounts receivable attributed the closure to a combination of the shifting business landscape in the mattress category. The company’s demise to the combination of the company’s low-cost import business model, supply chain issues exacerbated by the pandemic, anti-dumping duties and tariffs on imports.

The company, founded in 1971 as Waterbed supplier Classic Corp., had sales in excess of $350 million in 2019, according to industry insiders. The company had built partnerships with e-commerce giants such as Amazon and Wayfair, top 100 retailers, and through its portfolio of private-label business, and it was known for its innovative use of materials and design.

Classic Brands had sourced products from China, but shifted production to Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam in 2019 to avoid tariffs on Chinese-made imports. The following year, a group of U.S.-based manufacturers filed an anti-dumping petition with the International Trade Commission that resulted in duties for mattress imported from seven countries, including Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam. The ITC ruled in favor of the U.S. producers.

A Sofa Made out of Bath Bubbles? NFT Digital Virtual Furniture Arrives

BY Jeff Frank

Nathan Anthony metaverse

 Summarized from Furniture Today by Jean Marie Layton//Senior Editor for Upholstery/

Custom upholstery resource Nathan Anthony Furniture is launching a collection of limited edition digital collectibles, available for purchase through the company’s website. “We’re looking at what the future may hold for our signature furniture designs while still keeping our feet firmly planted on the factory floor,” said Tina Nicole, co-founder and creative director at Nathan Anthony, whose primary business is producing custom upholstery for interior designers and high end dealers.

At the spring 2022 High Point Market, Nathan Anthony was the first manufacturer to introduce NFT art, based on a physical chair, according to the company. Since then, Nicole is working to reimagine some of the best-selling furniture designs as digital artworks.

The Embrace Bath Bubble sofa is listed for 0.25 ETH, currently the equivalent of $392.68, according to the Open Sea NFT marketplace that is built on Ethereum blockchain, which is hosting the sale of Nathan Anthony NFTs. ETH or Ether is a cryptocurrency that has the second biggest market capitalization, after bitcoin.

Marge Carson Resumes Production 60 Days After Acquisition

BY Jeff Frank

Marge Carson
Marge Carson sofa

Summarized from a Furniture Today article by Jean Marie Layton//Senior Editor for Upholstery

60 days after acquiring high-end furniture brand Marge Carson, the new owner and CEO, Janet Linly, announced that the company has resumed production and is taking orders under the new name of Marge Carson Global Inc. “It is a testimony to the energy and experience of the Marge Carson Global team and the excitement about our vision for the brand that we have been able to resume manufacturing in only 60 days,” said Linly.

Operating from a 68,000-square-foot upholstery facility in Tijuana, Mexico, the company has re-hired seasoned Marge Carson craftspeople to manufacture and service the brand. The company will also be reintroducing case goods coming from Indonesia to the Marge Carson product line at a later date. Under its previous owner, the company exited case goods importation from Indonesia and the Philippines in 2021 to centralize production in North America.

In the time since she purchased the company, Linly has been working to restructure the previous Marge Carson production team. At the company’s upholstery facility, Linly has implemented an elevated product quality assurance process with a new quality assurance team utilizing multiple inspection steps.

Leather-alternative Cork fabric Introduced at Interwoven Textile Trade Show

BY Jeff Frank

Cork trees

Photo shows Cork trees in Portugal

From a Furniture Today article by Jean Marie Layton//Senior Editor for Upholstery//January 5, 2023

At the recent High Point, NC Interwoven textile show, Portuguese-based cork producer, Portugalia produced a cork-based sustainable alternative to animal hide-based leathers. “We put that couch on our showroom floor made up in cork,” said sales representative Steve Sechrest. “People walk in, do a double take and go, ‘Oh, my. What is this? Is this cork?’”  

Portugal is the largest cork producer in the world and produces more than 50% of the world’s cork supplies, according to Cork is sustainable because the trees aren’t cut down or damaged when the material is harvested and can be harvested every nine years for the lifetime of the tree (approximately 270 years). The material is harvested by peeling the cork bark in large sheets from the living tree.

Currently, Portugalia has more than 90 cork-based fabrics to choose from on their website and indicated it can also produce exclusive designs, colors, printings, embossing and other specialty cork materials.