Area companies among furniture industry leaders

Daily Journal

Industry trade publication Furniture Today recently released its annual “The List” which ranks the industry’s top retailers and suppliers.

And two Northeast Mississippi companies fared well – the Dufresne-Spencer Group, which owns and manages 19 furniture stores in six states, and Franklin Corp., one of the nation’s largest privately-owned furniture manufacturers.

The Dufresne-Spencer Group, which got its start as the Spencer Group in Saltillo, is now No. 59 on the list of the top 100 furniture retailers (in terms of sales) in the country. Headed by Jim Spencer, the Spencer Group got its start in 2002. It first made the Top 100 list in 2009 at No. 88, with 2008 sales of $61.1 million. A year later, it moved up to No. 74.

This year, the company reached its rank based on sales of $98 million for 2012.

The Spencer Group entered a partnership with Canada-based Dufresne last year, which has paid dividends. DSG has more than doubled the number of stores it had from just four years ago. It now owns 19 furniture stores – including 14 Ashley-branded stores – in Arkansas, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. It recently acquired seven stores in Kentucky and Indiana.

For 2013, it expects sales of about $125 million, which will move it up the Top 100 list even faster, likely putting it in the top 50. With the growth it’s been experiencing, DSG could reach sales of $250 million in 2014, company president Chad Spencer said. That would put it in the top 25. The only other Mississippi company in the most recent Top 100 is Miskelly Furniture in Jackson, at No. 92 with $48.1 million in sales last year.

Ashley Furniture HomeStores is the top furniture retailer in the nation, with $2.94 billion in sales. They were followed by Ikea ($2.5 billion), Williams-Sonoma ($1.96 billion) and Rooms To Go ($1.61 billion)

• Franklin Corp. of Houston is ranked No. 17 among the key sources for the U.S. furniture market.

Furniture Today estimates sales for Franklin last year reached $184.3 million, down about 3 percent from a year earlier.

The upholstered motion furniture company was founded in 1970 by Hassell Franklin, who recently was inducted into the American Furniture Hall of Fame.

Franklin Corp. is among the largest privately held furniture companies in the U.S., and employs more than 1,300 people on its 75-acre campus in Houston.