Furniture industry expects boost from Sandy

By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal

The furniture industry should benefit from insurance claims in the wake of last month’s Superstorm Sandy.
Sandy wreaked as much as $50 billion in damage when it hit the East Coast. Experts estimate $10 billion to $20 billion in insured losses.
Homeowners and business owners will have to rebuild and replace the items they lost, including furniture, bedding, appliances and electronics.
“The havoc and destruction Sandy caused for so many folks from North Carolina to New York presents a huge opportunity for furniture and bedding manufacturers,” said Guy Lipscomb, CEO of Pontotoc-based Southern Motion
But, he said, “It’s too early for that to be showing up locally. … however, I do believe it will begin in the next 90 to 120 days. It definitely will provide a big boost to our industry.”
The automotive industry also expects to benefit in the next few months. Sandy destroyed about 250,000 vehicles, including 15,000 new models.
That possibly could mean a boost for Toyota, which builds its popular Corolla compact at its Blue Springs plant.
Furniture executives, however, are more confident about Sandy’s impact.
“You hate to see your business increase because of others’ misfortunes, but we’ve seen it happen every time there’s been something like this,” said Jim Sneed, CEO of Affordable Furniture in Houlka.
Sneed said it will take some time for the business to trickle down. Insurance claims must be filed and processed, and then the policy holders have to wait for their money.
“I wouldn’t be surprised to see some retailers begin ordering furniture in anticipation of that,” Sneed said.
The $3.4 billion furniture industry employs about 40,000 workers directly and indirectly in Mississippi. Most of the manufacturers and suppliers are located in Northeast Mississippi.
dennis.seid@journalinc.com