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Policy Matters
Doug Clark
Some furniture removed from new tariffs lists

Some home furnishings products made in China have been spared from additional tariffs, at least for now. The Office of U.S. Trade Representative announced Aug. 16 it will not add a 10 percent import tax to wooden- and metal-framed chairs, plastic chairs and furniture items for infants, including toddler beds, bassinets, cradles, strollers and children’s seats, Reuters reported. New tariffs were otherwise scheduled to take effect Sept. 1 and Dec. 15, respectively, on products categorized as belonging to List 4A and List 4B, together valued at $300 billion. Most home furnishings products already carry 25 percent tariffs. The $114 billion retail furniture industry has been

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Home Furnishings Association
Crowley Furniture & Mattress makes safety part of its culture

Charlie Horn was 2 when a dresser fell over and killed him in 2007. In the wake of that terrible event, his parents, Brett and Jenny, created a nonprofit organization, now called Charlie’s House, dedicated to promoting safe homes for children. The Horn family lives in the Kansas City, Mo., area where Crowley Furniture & Mattress operates three stores. It wasn’t long before Crowley, a Home Furnishings Association member, reached out to offer help. Years later, the result is a strong partnership and growing awareness of a household hazard that has injured and killed too many children. To Greg Crowley, second-generation owner of the

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Designers Treci Smith and Rachel Moriarty in the Twin Star Home showroom at the Las Vegas Market
News
Doug Clark
Retailers can add style around a fireplace

Twin Star Home may be best known for its beautiful and functional electric fireplaces, but it stepped up the style at the recent Las Vegas Market. One goal was to inspire retailers that carry Twin Star Home products to do the same. The Florida-based company engaged a quartet of designers/lifestyle bloggers/influencers to decorate different parts of the TSH showroom. Treci Smith, Rachel Moriarty, Christy Davis and Shannon Ggem designed warm, comfortable spaces with plenty of homey touches that anyone could imagine settling into for a cozy evening. “We really focused on building beautiful furniture around the fireplace,” said Lisa Cody, vice

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Child reaching for a toy on top of a dresser
Policy Matters
Doug Clark
New York enacts Harper’s Law

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed Harper’s Law Tuesday. The measure bars retailers in that state from selling new clothing storage units that don’t meet standards for furniture stability unless they also offer tip-restraint kits. The law is named for Harper Ayva Fried of Monroe, N.Y., who died at age 3 in November 2016 when a dresser in her room fell over. Her parents, Aaron and Erica Fried, formed HarperSmiles, a nonprofit dedicated to educating the public about the danger of tip-over accidents. Harper’s Law takes effect in 90 days, or mid-November. It requires retailers to post safety warnings about the potential for

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Kansas Revenue Secretary Mark Burghart, left
Policy Matters
Doug Clark
Kansas aims to tax all online sales

Kansas is one of a few states that still doesn’t require remote online retailers to collect sales tax on purchases made by its residents. Not that it doesn’t want to. The state legislature this year approved a measure to do just that. But it was included in a larger tax package that was vetoed by Gov. Laura Kelly. Lawmakers could not override her veto, so the issue was put to rest for this year. Except that it wasn’t. With the legislature adjourned until next year, Kansas Revenue Secretary Mark Burghart took matters into his own hands. Under existing law, he said, out-of-state vendors are

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Ken Smith and Mark Laferriere, Smith Leonard assurance partners
News
Doug Clark
Furniture sales should be better, Smith says

The numbers remain a puzzle to Ken Smith, assurance partner for Smith Leonard Accountants & Consultants in High Point, N.C. Smith is co-author with Mark Laferriere of the monthly Furniture Insights survey. Their July 30 report found that new orders for residential furniture declined 3 percent in May compared to a year earlier, the fourth consecutive monthly decline. In June, “sales at furniture and home furnishing stores were up 0.8 percent from June 2018 but down 0.8 percent year-to-date from the first half of 2018,” Smith and Laferriere noted. Yet overall economic indicators are still good, including employment, personal income growth and especially consumer

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