SIC 2512

This category covers those establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing upholstered furniture on wood frames. Shops primarily engaged in reupholstering furniture, or upholstering frames to individual order, are classified in Services, SIC 7641: Re-upholstery and Furniture Repair, or Retail Trade, SIC 5712: Furniture Stores. Establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing dual-purpose sleep furniture, such as convertible sofas and chair beds, are classified in SIC 2515: Mattresses, Foundations, and Convertible Beds, regardless of the material used in the frame. Establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing wood frames for upholstered furniture are classified in SIC 2426: Hardware Dimension and Flooring Mills.

NAICS Code(s)

337121 (Upholstered Wood Household Furniture Manufacturing)

This industry is defined primarily by the materials with which the products are constructed, rather than the end product itself. All products feature wood frames and fabric or leather upholstery. Establishments within this industry produce a wide range of upholstered furniture for the home, including such upholstered living room furniture as chairs, rockers, couches, sofas, and recliners. Products manufactured in this industry include other household furniture as well as juvenile furniture. The upholstered household furniture industry shipped $9.79 billion worth of products in 2000, compared to $8.23 billion in 1997. Employment grew from 89,215 to 94,198 over the same time period.

Establishments in this industry produced goods that were sold to distributors or directly to retailers. Manufacturers produced goods for sale at a variety of price points and under a variety of brand names. Standard and Poor's Industry Survey estimated that approximately 44 percent of upholstered furniture was sold through furniture stores, 10 percent through department stores, and 44 percent through mass merchandisers. New retailing techniques were affecting the industry. Standard and Poor's noted a growing tendency among manufacturers to enter into agreement with a retailer to open a gallery devoted to the manufacturer's goods, a concept that was "very successful in attracting customers and generating sales." The arrangement was mutually advantageous because the retailer had proprietary rights on the goods while the manufacturer got a dedicated retail outlet for its merchandise.

Sales for the entire household furniture industry were about $28.5 billion in the late 1990s. The United States imported $728.8 million worth of upholstered furniture, with the top importers being Italy, Mexico, Canada, China, and Taiwan. The United States exported almost $1.0 billion in upholstered furniture, with the top destinations being Canada, Norway, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, and Japan.

Manufacturers of upholstered wood furniture benefited from an expanding market in the early 1990s, leading to approximately 5-6 percent growth between 1992 and 1993 alone. The industry was influenced by the rate of new home construction and the number of existing homes being remodeled. Standard and Poor's estimated that the upholstered wood household furniture industry would continue to expand through the end of 1990s due to changing demographics. Baby boomers were "getting older and richer and will soon want nicer things to suit their more upscale lifestyles."

In the late 1990s the economy was still going strong—unemployment was low, the stock market and consumer confidence levels were high. Housing starts were still strong, and low interest rates spurred refinancing of homes, resulting in more money to spend on household furniture. People in the United States also had more disposable income than ever, resulting in strong furniture sales. Furniture sales are expected to slow throughout the early 2000s due to export markets and a weakening U.S. economy.

The largest manufacturers in the industry in the late 1990s were Furniture Brands International (which included Broyhill, Lane, and Thomasville), with sales of $1.8 billion; Life Style Furnishings International, Ltd., with $1.7 billion in sales; and La-Z-Boy, Inc., with $1.1 billion in sales. The states with the highest percentage of people employed in this industry were North Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee, and California. Between them, they accounted for 70 percent of the industry's employment.

Further Reading

International Trade Commission. "Top 25 U.S. Export Destinations for Upholstered Household Furniture." Available from . Accessed 24 November 1999.

——. "Top 25 U.S. Import Sources for Upholstered Wood Furniture." Available from . Accessed 24 November 1999.

Standard and Poor's Industry Surveys. New York: Standard and Poor's Corp., 1997.

United States Census Bureau. Annual Survey of Manufacturers. 1995. Washington, DC: GPO, 1997.

United States Census Bureau. "Statistics for Industries and Industry Groups: 2000." Annual Survey of Manufacturers. February 2002. Available from .

U.S. Department of Commerce. International Trade Administration. U.S. Industry & Trade Outlook '99. U.S. Department of Commerce/International Trade Administration and McGraw-Hill, 1999.

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