Massachusetts had some of the strictest COVID-19 shutdown orders in the country earlier this year. Not only was Home Furnishings Association member Rotmans forced to close its doors in Worcester, Mass., but it also couldn’t sell online because its warehouse was forced to shutter, too.
But summer has been a different story. Since reopening on June 11, Rotmans has come roaring back. Like many furniture retailers, Rotmans benefited from the pent-up demand from customers eager to update their homes after being forced to work from them for more than three months and counting.
Steve Rotman, president and CEO of Vystar Corp, the majority owner of Rotmans, said the spike in sales was instant. “Typically, 30 to 40 percent of customers make purchases, but instead 50 to 70 percent were making purchases,” said Rotman. “That has since tapered off somewhat, but we are still tracking higher than normal for year-over-year sales for the months of June and July, and we are doing it with fewer employees than normal.”
If sales remain the same and the store can stay open, Rotman anticipates third-quarter revenue will be comparable to the same quarter last year. Expenses should be lower than the comparable quarter in large part because of a smaller staff.
Rotman said roughly 60 percent of his store’s staff has been rehired. Offers for re-employment have been extended to others. He said some employees are not ready to return because of the ongoing risk of COVID-19 exposure.
“Business is brisk, so we hope some additional employees will return,” he said. “Many have been with Rotmans for many years and they are like part of the family. We and our customers appreciate the years of knowledge about our business, product lines and customer service that they have.”
Rotmans said the store is banking on another successful August promotion. This year, the company’s Triple Tax Savings Sale has been expanded from two days to nearly three weeks. Rotman said the sale is billed as the company’s biggest of the year, offering sale prices as much as 65 percent off, plus an additional savings of three times Massachusetts’ 6.25 percent state sales tax, to celebrate the annual reprieve from the state sales tax granted by the state on a weekend in late August every year.
“We are massively well-stocked with inventory, and anticipate this sale will be larger than the previous year since people are spending more time in their homes due to COVID restrictions,” said Rotman.
Not an HFA member? Fill out the form and join the community!