Furniture stores struggle, adapt through recession

HIGH POINT, N.C. (AP) - The recession that forced consumers to lock down household spending has been tough on furniture retailers, most of which are small, family-run businesses.

Research firm IBIS World Inc. says about 10 percent of furniture retailers closed their doors for good last year. Sageworks Inc. says furniture stores were among the worst-performing types of retailers last year, with sales falling 11 percent.

Store owners who have stuck around have cut costs and staff. Some have benefited from hard-pressed landlords willing to deal to keep tenants while others have focused on online sales to broaden their customer base.

Industry giant Ashley Furniture is introducing a no-frills approach that uses less than half the space of a normal store.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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