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Rick Howard
Policy Matters
Home Furnishings Association
HFA government advocacy update: Florida retailers want tax fairness

Featured Story | Political Update | Retailer News Watch | State Reports HFA members in Florida want tax fairness Home Furnishings Association members in Florida are still looking for tax fairness. Florida is one of only two sales-tax states – the other is Missouri – that doesn’t require remote online vendors to add the tax to purchases by its residents. The failure leaves Florida retailers at a disadvantage against giant online competitors based in other states. “We pay local taxes,” said Andrew Koenig, president of City Furniture, which is based in Tamarac and operates 20 stores in south and central Florida.

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Century Furniture shwowroom
News
Doug Clark
Furniture orders down, but Smith sees positive signs

Ken Smith uses a couple of reliable exhibitors to help him evaluate the High Point Market. “Unless it’s a really good market, they’re usually in a sour mood,” Smith said after the October show. “They were in a good mood, and one said it may have been the best market he’s ever had.” Smith, assurance partner for the High Point accounting and business consulting firm Smith Leonard, doesn’t have the numbers yet to back up his positive assessment. His latest Furniture Insights survey of home furnishings manufacturers and distributors found a 3 percent decline in orders in August 2019 compared

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Photo shows Scott Whittier with a dresser with demonstration weight
Policy Matters
Doug Clark
Whittier urges retailers to address furniture safety

Scott Whittier does not mince words. “I love kids. The last thing I want to do is kill one,” the president and CEO of Whittier Wood Furniture said in his showroom at High Point Market. He urges furniture retailers to make sure they don’t kill children, either, but he fears that most aren’t taking tip-over risks seriously enough. No one intends for accidents to happen. It’s just that “a lot of retailers don’t want to talk about it,” Whittier said. He understands. Just a few years ago, he was no different. Then a customer of his Eugene, Ore., manufacturing company

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Matt Schultz
Policy Matters
Doug Clark
Tax fix bills benefiting retailers gain support

Legislation aimed at fixing a tax glitch that affects Home Furnishings Association members has gained support from majorities of U.S. House and Senate members. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) was the co-author of Senate Bill 803, the Restoring Investments in Improvements Act. A news release from his office explained: “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act made historic, positive changes to the federal tax code, including allowing businesses to immediately write off costs associated with improving facilities instead of having to write off those expenses over a long period of time. An inadvertent drafting error (prevented) restaurants, retailers and other leaseholders from taking

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CEO Summit host committee
News
Doug Clark
HFA’s CEO Summit launches retailer action

The Home Furnishings Association’s inaugural CEO Summit concluded today with participants focused on action. Next steps will happen before the second annual gathering in October 2020. The event, which began Sunday evening, convened 50 of the nation’s top furniture retailers for discussions and networking in Pebble Beach, Calif. They set aside their normal roles as competitors, concentrating instead on common challenges and solutions, according to Mark Schumacher, executive vice president of the HFA. “Great things happen when we bring retailers together,” Schumacher said. “It does not matter their size. It does not matter what part of the country they come

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AHFA regulatory summit
News
Doug Clark
Furniture retailers called to improve safety messages

The Ashley Homestore website includes an important safety page. The retail giant and Home Furnishings Association member offers statistics about tip-over accidents and instructions for anchoring chests and dressers securely in place. Consumers – whether they’re Ashley customers or not – are invited to request free tip-restraint kits. Those are positive steps toward addressing a problem that has received intense regulatory and legislative attention during 2019. But most furniture retailers aren’t taking those steps. Nor are they delivering other safety messages, according to the American Home Furnishings Alliance. HFA asks Consumer Products Safety Commission to set mandatory stability standard. AHFA

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