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Home Furnishings Association
More workers would be eligible for overtime pay under new proposal

More than one million additional American workers would become eligible for overtime pay if the U.S. Department of Labor adopts a proposed new rule. Employees earning up to $679 per week would qualify for overtime pay for working more than 40 hours in a week, according to the proposal announced March 7 by the department’s Wage and Hour Division. Currently, workers who earn $455 or more per week can be exempted from overtime pay, depending on their job duties. The $455 level was established in 2004. The proposed new threshold of $679 per week is equivalent to $35,308 in annual

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Home Furnishings Association
Tax fix important to furniture retailers introduced in U.S. Senate

Home Furnishings Association member John V. Schultz Furniture in Erie, Pa., has been growing, but further expansion is on hold, thanks to a detrimental tax provision. “In the past year, our family furniture business has undergone significant growth and made large investments with the opening of two new furniture stores in Erie and Pittsburgh,” President Matt Schultz says. “This investment has nearly doubled our employment with the addition of over 100 jobs to our company. “Now future growth has been put on hold as a result of the current tax language not allowing us to deduct these building improvements on our

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Home Furnishings Association
Bernie & Phyl’s to open first store in Maine

Home Furnishings Association member Bernie & Phyl’s will expand its footprint farther north, opening its first furniture store in Maine later this spring. The company is taking over a former Toys R Us space across from the Maine Mall in South Portland. The move into the 42,000-square-foot store follows a similar trend among other furniture retailers eager to take on store fronts vacated by legacy retailers consolidating or closing altogether. Company CEO Larry Rubin said the store in Newington, N.H., which borders Maine, draws a lot of customers from its neighboring state, indicating it was time to push north. The

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Learn how to turn website visitors into in-store purchasers

Ken Widger has a tough act to follow: his own.  Widger, senior program marketing manager for MicroD, drew a standing-room-only audience of more than 80 people to his seminar in the Home Furnishings Association’s Retailer Resource Center at the Las Vegas Market. For those who couldn’t fit into the room, he’ll deliver the same message in High Point April 6.  The topic is an urgent one: “Make your online store just as inviting as your showroom.” The strong interest shown in Las Vegas indicates that many retailers haven’t met that challenge. Widger has plenty of tips, all with the goal of improving “conversions,” or turning

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Online sales-tax bills in Kansas, Nebraska head for different outcomes

Midwestern neighboring states approved online sales-tax legislation on consecutive days this month: Kansas on March 14 and Nebraska on March 15. But the Kansas bill, which included other tax changes, is likely to be vetoed by Gov. Laura Kelly. In Nebraska, which has just one legislative chamber, lawmakers approved a standalone sales-tax measure by a 43-0 vote. Beginning April 1, it will require remote online sellers to collect sales tax once they reach $100,000 in sales or make 200 individual transactions in the state. Gov. Pete Ricketts, “who had expressed misgivings about taxing internet sales prior to the Supreme Court

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Seminar offers prescriptions for rejuvenating your business

Sometimes, Ron Cooper has to be a family counselor. Plenty of times, he’s heard a senior furniture retailer complain that “I turned the business over to my son and he killed it!”  No, Cooper assures the father, “Amazon, Wayfair and the big stores killed it.”  Cooper’s real job isn’t to work out family problems but to bring struggling furniture stores back to life. A former store owner, he’s vice president of sales and marketing for PMP Sales, a New Jersey firm that specializes in giving independent furniture retailers a burst of revenue from high-impact sales events or implementing other strategies to regain sound

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