Havertys Furniture getting back into outdoor furniture segment

Retailer initially expects to carry the line in 51 of its 123 stores starting in December

ATLANTA — HNN 125 retailer Havertys Furniture is getting back into the outdoor furniture category starting later this year, offering both dining and seating as well as occasional tables and accessories.

John Gill

John Gill, executive vice president of merchandising, said that the initial launch — which will begin to hit stores in December and January — will include two new dining sets and two new seating groups, with one of the two offerings featuring a sofa, sectional and a fire pit.

It initially plans to roll out the groups to 51 of its 123 stores and stock it in its three largest warehouses in Florida, Dallas and Atlanta. From those facilities, the company can deliver product quickly, with shipments leaving those facilities daily and arriving at stores in as little as a day.

Although Havertys offers some outdoor product online, this is the first time the company has offered outdoor in its stores in the past several years.

“It has been seven or eight years at least,” said Gill, who described the offering as a little too broad in the past. “One of the things with outdoor is that something has to come off the showroom floor so you have to be careful. You have to think through that and display it so you get plus business.”

Gill said that the company believes that it will do well in the segment because of the number of customers asking for it as well as from the online demand it sees for products provided through other vendors.

This is one of the new dining sets that Havertys Furniture is introducing in the outdoor segment.

“We’ve had good demand in the category, but we just know that having stock in our warehouses where we can deliver it in a couple of days, it will be more volume than what we are doing with someone waiting for us to get it from a vendor’s warehouse,” he said.

During the company’s third-quarter earnings call last week, Havertys Chairman and CEO Clarence Smith described outdoor as a new category, as the stores dropped the last iteration of the line several years back.

Clarence Smith

“We’re going to do it the right way this time,” Smith said during the call. “It’s not going to be in all of our stores, but it will be in the ones that make the most sense for us and eventually will probably be in all of our stores.”

He estimated that although outdoor will make up only 2%-3% of sales, it represents a significant opportunity because of interest in special-order capabilities. “I think it’s important, particularly for our special-order custom-design sales, which is now a bigger part of our business, Smith said. “Our customers want to have a whole home done and this allows us to do that. So we’re excited about it.”

Gill said that the amount of product shown in each store will vary by the size of the store. However he noted that larger stores likely will carry the full mix, while smaller stores might carry each collection but not every single piece. In either case, store sales associates would help customers with their selection, ranging from pieces that may be shown online, but not on the floor, as well as various custom options.

The line also will be priced commensurate with other product on the floor, staying true to the overall values customers expect.

“It will be consistent with the rest of our merchandising,” Gill said. “We are doing some things to develop better quality than the promotional guys and will have good product for our customers. … We just think it gives us a way to continue to serve our customers and meet their needs without having to send them down the street for a category we think is growing and important. We are excited to have it.”

Thomas Russell

Home News Now Editor-in-Chief Thomas Russell has covered the furniture industry for 25 years at various daily and weekly consumer and trade publications. He can be reached at tom@homenewsnow.com and at 336-508-4616.

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