Furniture stores feeling economic pinch

March 24, 2008 4:24:17 PM PDT
With the flailing economy and so many people pinching pennies, there isn't a lot of money left over for home furnishings.That adds up to bad news for furniture stores, which are going out of business. But that could mean good news for savvy shoppers.

With a new Eyewitness News report called Dollars and Sense, New Jersey reporter Toni Yates has a report from Paramus.

We certainly don't want to seem like we cheering the doom of any business, but the reality is that furniture stores really are struggling. Those near bankruptcy are offering big discounts to get shoppers to spend money.

"We put an addition on our house, so I'm looking to not break the bank by looking for furniture that hopefully is a little bit cheaper," shopper Ronne Hopkins said.

Now is an excellent time for Ronne to be in the market for furniture, which also means times aren't so hot for many furniture stores.

"The last six months of '07, we saw a downturn in consumer spending of the traffic in our stores," furniture store owner Ron Cooper said.

Big's Bedrooms is in bankruptcy, advertising a big discount sale. It is partially a victim of the slow economy.

"I think people are very wary right now," shopper Nancy Jeanne Alward said. "And I think they hesitate about spending."

"I cannot believe the prices in the stores," Hopkins said. "Even the food stores, the prices have really have gone up. And we really are watching our pennies."

Big's hopes to bounce back one day, but it's too late for several furniture stores on Paramus' popular shopping drags. Domain is nearly picked clean after it went into bankruptcy. Bassett is gone, and so is Levitz, Interni and Moda. They are victims of the economy.

"It's consumer confidence," Cooper said. "You read the paper, on the news, it's gotten people very scared about what's happening with their own jobs. The interest rate of the home is going up, so they're spending less on the home."

Which Ron is hoping will cycle up to more penny pinchers looking for a good buy.

"It's definitely the right time to buy," Cooper said. "Unfortunately, during bankruptcy it's always teh best time to buy."

Cooper says the furniture business has not been this bad since the recession of 1991. The cycles, he says, is on a downturn. When will there be an upturn? That is the question.


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