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May 10, 2020
Even as some states are opening their economies, the flooring industry should not expect an immediate bounce in sales. In fact, the flooring industry should prepare for a severe retail downturn for some time, predicted Stuart Hirschhorn, director of research for Catalina Research Inc. “For every month the economy is closed, it will take two months to recover,” he said. “[In May] we are in the second month, so you’re looking at September. If we go into June, it will wipe out the rest of the year.”
He noted that in the period from mid-2018 to mid-2019, industry sales were somewhat soft due to a retail buying surge in 2018 to beat the China tariffs — resulting also into a surplus in inventories. However, demand had picked up in the second half of 2019 as the Federal Reserve Board lowered interest rates and consumers bought and renovated more — with all indicators pointing to a strong 2020 — strong housing starts, strong home sales and high home improvement figures. When the virus hit and the economy shut down, consumers turned away from home purchases of all sorts and turned to food and essentials. Read More >