SIC 5023

This industry classification contains establishments primarily engaged in the wholesale distribution of home furnishings and housewares. Products of the industry include antiques, china, glassware and earthenware, lamps (including electric), curtains and draperies, linens and towels, and carpets, linoleum, and all other types of hard and soft surface floor coverings.

Establishments primarily engaged in the wholesale distribution of electrical household goods are classified in SIC 5064: Electrical Appliances, Television and Radio Sets. Establishments primarily engaged in the wholesale distribution of precious metal flatware are classified in SIC 5094: Jewelry, Watches, Precious Stones, and Precious Metals.

NAICS Code(s)

442210 (Floor Covering Stores)

421220 (Home Furnishing Wholesalers)

The home furnishing wholesale industry is divided into four categories of establishment: sellers of china, glassware, and crockery; sellers of linens, domestics, draperies, and curtains; sellers of floor coverings; and sellers of other types of home furnishings. Home furnishings and floor covering equally shared 32 percent of the overall market. Decorative home furnishings and supplies represented ten percent.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported 8,024 establishments in 2001. There were 93,616 employees with a combined annual payroll of $3.6 billion. In 2003, the number of establishments climbed to 14,838, valued at $30.7 billion. The average wholesaler generated sales of $2.4 million.

Industry watchers predicted industry expansion during the 1990s. HFD reported that demographic projections favored growth. The number of U.S. residents in the 35 to 55 age bracket was increasing, and that group typically included a higher percentage of home owners than older or younger segments of the population. The Furniture Buying Index showed a one point increase in January 2000 to 85—the first rise in five years. The index was at its highest point in a January since 1993, when it reached 102. The U.S. Commerce Department reported that home furnishing sales climbed 0.7 percent in April of 2004.

SIC 5023 Home Furnishings

Flooring distributors noted a shift in traditional distribution channels as more carpeting retailers turned to direct mill purchases. The number of retailers purchasing carpeting from distributors fell in the early 1990s. However at the beginning of 2000, Don Whitfield, division vice-president for Shaw Rugs, said that"continued economic growth will spur double-digit rug industry growth for the next 5-6 years."

The market influence of wholesale warehouse stores also was growing. There were more distribution warehouses, conceived to cater to interior designers, builders, and decorators rather than retailers or the general public, and they were growing more popular.

Home fashions analysts identified three major design trends: casual and traditional; pure and simple; and crafted and contemporary. Casual and traditional combined classic and eclectic pieces with easy-care fabrics. Pure and simple styles were comparable to uncluttered country. Crafted and contemporary featured bright colors and patterns.

The states with the industry's highest number of establishments and dollar value of sales were California, Florida, New York, and Texas. In 2003 California's 2,410 establishments posted sales of $5.4 billion, and New York's 1,362 recorded $2.8 billion in sales.

Further Reading

"Catalog Age—Lead the Evolution," 14 May 2004. Available from .

Craver, Richard. "Furniture-Sales Index Indicates Consumer Confidence Remains Strong." High Point Enterprise, 31 December 1999.

D&B Sales & Marketing Solutions, May 2004. Available from .

"Ratings and Reports." Value Line Investment Survey. New York: Value Line Publishing, 15 October 1999.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. 1997 Economic Census. Available from .

U.S. Census Bureau. Statistics of U.S. Businesses 2001. Available from .

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