Bassett Furniture Industries works to get a leg up on the competition. The company, founded in 1902, makes wooden and upholstered furniture for home use, featuring bedroom and dining suites, sofas, chairs, love seats, and home office furniture. Bassett sells its products primarily through some 90 Bassett Furniture Direct stores (more than half of which are licensed) and Bassett Home Furnishings locations. Bassett has about 50 company-owned stores located mostly in the southern and northeastern US. Dogged by disappointing sales, the company has spent the past several years reducing its number of manufacturing, warehouse, and showroom facilities and paring down its workforce from 4,200 to 1,300 employees.
As part of its transition from being a domestic furniture manufacturer to becoming a retailer, marketer, and manufacturer, Bassett shuttered its wood furniture plant located in its hometown in Bassett, Virginia, and shed some 15% of its workforce. The move has given the furniture firm traction as it waits for foot traffic to return to previous levels.
Despite an economic downturn and depressed housing market, Bassett has seen a boost in its retail sales while its wholesale business logged declines. Since 2007, when the furniture firm generated 27% of its revenue through retail sales, it has grown its store sales to account for 41% in 2010. Meanwhile, Bassett's wholesale business, which represents a shrinking segment of its overall sales, dipped from 73% in 2007 to 59% in 2010. The company also points to a surge in traffic to its website (www.bassettfurniture.com) for the shift. To maintain its momentum and boost sales further, Bassett has been working to enhance the site's ease of use. (When customers order furniture through its website, Bassett's company-owned and licensed stores support those transactions.)
Another Bassett strategy is to bring more licensee-owned stores into its fold. Bassett looks to boost its number of company-owned stores as it acquires its licensees. By the end of 2010, the home furnishings retailer had purchased more than a handful of licensee-owned stores, bringing its company-owned store count to 47 while its licensee-owned count dropped to 54.
Wood furniture fetches half of Bassett's wholesale sales, with most of the rest from upholstered pieces. Approximately 53% of its 2010 wholesale sales were generated from sales of imported products, compared to 49% back in 2007. – less