Well, it’s certainly been an interesting few years in the office furniture industry. There have been a number of widely publicized office furniture center shutdowns. These include the impending closure of several Steelcase plants. Production is shifting to other facilities to reduce overall costs and ensure continued profitability. Haworth took a similar step a couple of years ago after acquiring the Smed movable wall and wood furniture plant in Canada. The company decided that moving production to its Michigan plants made more sense than keeping the Calgary factory running. Hon also divested excess capacity in 2009 with the closure of its Louisburg, NC plant.
Individual dealerships and national distributors are also affected. In 2009, one of Virginia’s largest office furniture dealerships (Chasen’s Business Interiors) closed. Aaron’s Inc. began shutting down its office furniture division in 2010 and is finishing up liquidating outstanding inventory now out of 2 remaining stores. They are focusing on their leasing model which is thriving in the current economy as some businesses are still putting off making purchasing decisions. However, the used and refurbished office furniture business is going strong and new furniture sales are expected to pick up significantly over the next 24 months.