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Retail

2020 Year-End Report: Flooring Dealers Benefit by Home Renovation Lift

Despite a rough start in the early part of 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis, flooring retailers saw a healthy rebound in sales this year.

RugNews.com Editors
12/22/2020
Home Carpet One showroom exterior
Chicago's Home Carpet One sees 2020 area rug sales climb.

SPECIAL REPORT -- Despite being closed for several weeks during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, flooring retailers rebounded nicely in 2020, with many reporting rug sales that exceeded 2019 levels. While the shutdown forced millions of Americans to cancel vacations and spend less on entertainment, studies show that personal spending money was often reallocated toward home furnishings.

Industry data confirmed that rug sales soared in late Q2 and Q3 as consumers sought to brighten their new “offices” at home. That was the finding of Keith Trau, vice president at CCA Global Partners — the parent of Carpet One, Flooring America/Flooring Canada and ProSource.

As for key price points, Trau said $299-$799 attracted the bulk of purchases in 2020, as consumers gravitated toward higher-end purchases.

RETAILERS SEE POSITIVE RESULTS


Canadian retailer Carpet Colour Centre Carpet One Floor & Home reports sales increased by 25 percent in 2020.

Several retailers reported better than expected results for rugs in 2020, including some record months. Andrew Wiebe, co-owner of Carpet Colour Centre Carpet One Floor & Home, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, said that in past years getting decent inventory turns on rugs was a challenge for his business. “But this year it hasn’t been an issue. Sales are up almost 25 percent year to date, and at the same time margins are up 15 percent.”


The Rug Rack reports positive sales growth in 2020 driven by an uptick in better-quality rugs, especially its hand-knotted offering.

In Chattanooga, Tennessee, The Rug Rack did not miss a beat during the early months of the pandemic starting in March, and that led to a positive 2020. “Our rug sales are up from 2019 by several percentage points over last year,” said Miriam Thompson, co-owner. “In the early months of COVID we experienced a large uptick in our better-quality goods, especially our hand-knots. As the months of COVID pressed on and the election came closer (6-7 weeks before) our sales dropped off as did our foot traffic. November was extremely soft; however, in years past, if November is soft then December pulls ahead and vice versa.”


Better quality 8x11 area rugs have been performing well at Chattanooga's The Rug Rack.

Thompson reported that the better quality power-loom rugs priced at $749 to $1,100 for an 8x11 fared well. “The Pakistan Peshawars in a variety of styles — still more traditional with color -- are popular in our area. Smaller Turkish pieces in their beautiful colors are all the rage. As far as selling color versus neutral, we are close to 75 percent color and 25 percent neutral. Whether soft or bold, color is selling.”


Cincinnati's The Rug Gallery saw a surge in fabricated rugs during 2020.

Despite being closed for seven weeks from mid-March to mid-May, The Rug Gallery in Cincinnati rebounded with a strong summer and fall. “We made up some ground, but we will not get back to 2019 numbers,” owner Sam Presnell said. However, August and September resulted in record months for the business. “We had a real surge in fabricated rugs from carpet, mostly in patterns. From $2,000 to $3,000 was the biggest price range,” Presnell said.


The Rug Gallery is successfully using virtual meetings for clients who prefer contact-free appointments.

Harry Arnowich, co-owner of Redi-Cut Carpets & Rugs in Westport, Connecticut, called 2020 a “strange” year. “Like everyone else, it started great; then we thought we were going out of business, and then half of Manhattan moved here, and we got lucky. The home service network has really picked it up.” Although the business was closed for almost three months, Redi-Cut Carpets & Rugs will likely finish the year up over 2019, Arnowich said.


Connecticut's Redi-Cut Carpets & Rugs says custom rugs will drive 2020 sales above 2019 levels.

Redi-Cut Carpet & Rugs has benefited by its location, which is within driving distance of upscale Greenwich and the wealthy suburbs of Westchester, New York. “We’re in a higher-end area. About 60 percent to 70 percent of our business is in custom rugs.”


Chicago's Home Carpet One Floor & Home reports that its designer business has fueled year over year revenue increase.

In Chicago, Joel Schreier, owner of Home Carpet One Floor & Home reported that sales of area rugs are up about 20 percent year-over-year. The bulk of that increase was fueled by designers. “Our average ticket has held steady, and most of our rugs (95 percent) are either fabricated by us or the vendor.” Schreier said flat weaves, animal prints and abstract patterns are moving the fastest, and the average rug price for retail has been between $1,500 and $2,000 for designer specified rugs. “In terms of trends, we definitely have seen a movement toward warmer colors and away from cooler colors. Blues seem to be gaining momentum.”


Lancaster, Pennsylvania's Indoor City moved much of its rug inventory to Karastan's Rug Kiosk.

A year ago, Indoor City, a Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based flooring retailer, was barely in the rug business. It had exited its stock area rug program and liquidated the 500 rugs it had. But its commitment to rugs changed during Surfaces 2020 when owner Ryan Commerce was introduced to the Karastan Kiosk, a new digital display unit that shipped to dealers during the middle of 2020. For Commerce, the interactive unit is a game changer for retailers who want to be in the rug business without the inventory commitment. 

"We got the Karastan display in September and got everyone here trained on it. It’s very user friendly and allows us to show quite a few area rugs without having to commit to the cost of having 400-500 rugs in stock. We’ve sold quite a few already and are optimistic about the future.”


Karastan Rug Kiosk, pictured above, allows retailers such as Indoor City to offer area rugs without the need to carry large inventory.
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