Furniture

Corporations

Company Profiles

The following five companies are the top employers in the furniture industry in North Carolina based on employment data from Dun and Bradstreet. Although they all lead the state in the number of jobs they provide, the firms differ in the specific types of furniture they produce and roles they play in the value chain. Understanding the markets in which these firms operate and how these firms are adjusting their strategies to remain competitive can give insight into how the furniture industry is evolving and what it means to be competitive within today’s industry. The top five companies in terms of employment in NC are:

  1. Heritage Home Group (formerly Furniture Brands International)
  2. Klaussner Corporation
  3. CV Industries, Inc.
  4. Bernhardt Industries
  5. Sherrill Furniture Company

Heritage Home Group

(formerly Furniture Brands International)

Introduction

Furniture Brands International is a vertically integrated holding company that represents several of America’s strongest brand names involved in primarily household furniture. It operates on national and global scales, with NC making up a shrinking portion of operations. The company was heavily affected by the recession to the point that it declared bankruptcy in 2013.

Headquarters: St. Louis, MO
Total Employees (2012): 9,100 – 5,600 domestic, 3,500 abroad
NC Employees (2012): 4,500
NC Locations: 23
Total Revenue (2012): $1,072 million
Year Established: 1911
Primary NAICS: Non-upholstered Wood Household Furniture Manufacturing (337122)
Sources: (1; 5)

Brands & Market Segments

Furniture Brands International primarily produces non-upholstered household furniture but is also involved with the production of upholstered household furniture, wood office furniture, and miscellaneous wood products (5).

It operates several of its own furniture stores and is known for some of the most respected brands in the industry (4). In general, the Thomasville, Creative Interiors, Broyhill, Lane, and Drexel-Heritage brands market wood and upholstered household furniture in the middle price range. The company’s Henredon, Pearson, Lane Venture, Maitland-Smith, and La Barge brands produce higher quality wood, upholstered, and occasionally metal products at premium prices. The Hickory Chair brand also falls into this category but boasts entirely domestic production.

Strategy & Competitiveness

In an attempt to recover from the recession, Furniture Brands International focused more on top-line sales, reduced costs through lean manufacturing, and drove sales with new products and a balanced media mix (1). The firm has also been consolidating domestic operations and increasing offshore operations (1). Despite these efforts, Furniture Brands International had negative profits in 2011 and 2012 and declared Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in September of 2013 (5). The firm was purchased by KPS Capital Partners and was formed into the new company Heritage Home Group, LLC in November (3). With so many employees and a strong market share, the future of this company will have a huge impact on the industry and could open up opportunities for other companies.

Geographic Footprint

Furniture Brands International operates facilities in eight NC cities, many of which are upholstery plants, case goods plants, and distribution centers (1). Two of its major subsidiary brands, Broyhill Industries, Inc. and Thomasville Furniture Industries, Inc., are also headquartered in NC (5). However the company recently closed four major NC facilities and has eliminated almost 9,000 NC jobs in the past twelve years (2). Sixty-two percent of Furniture Brands International’s total employees are employed domestically (1). U.S. operations are also concentrated in Mississippi and Missouri, where the parent company is headquartered (1). Trade showrooms can be found in High Point, Chicago and Las Vegas (1).

Furniture Brands International operates extensively abroad. Most global operations are centered in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Mexico (1). The firm’s Asian sourcing group coordinates quality control, logistics and materials sourcing (1). Raw materials are purchased both domestically and abroad, depending on the most competitive prices. In the next step of the value chain, Furniture Brands International maintains centralized strategic relationships with its foreign manufacturers, giving the company the ability to control quality and delivery standards (1). Furniture Brands International products are distributed globally through small independently owned stores, large department stores, galleries, and the Thomasville Home Furnishings distribution channel (1).

References
  1. Furniture Brands International. (2012). Annual Report 2012. Retrieved from http://quote.morningstar.com/stock-filing/Annual-Report/2012/12/29/t.aspx?t=:FBN&ft=10-K&d=c0913dd5c49408e6b412d7faab92c9fa
  2. Craver, R. (2013, Nov. 20). KPS is sole bidder for Furniture Brands International. Winston-Salem Journal. Retrieved December 6, 2013 from www.journalnow.com/business/business_news/local/article_5bcffcc4-524a-11e3-ba9b-0019bb30f31a.html
  3. Evans, M. (2013, Nov. 25). KPS Capital wins bid for Furniture Brands. The Business Journal. Retrieved December 6, 2013 from www.bizjournals.com/triad/blog/morning-edition/2013/11/kps-capital-wins-bid-for-furniture.html
  4. Heritage Home Group. (2013). Retrieved December 10, 2013 from www.furniturebrands.com
  5. Hoover's. (2013). Furniture Brands International [company overview, company description, family tree]. Retrieved December 6, 2013 from Hoover's database.

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Klaussner Furniture Industries
Introduction

Working through its private subsidiary Klaussner Furniture Industries, Inc., this firm manufactures customized and consumer-oriented household and office furniture from facilities concentrated in NC but stretching across the US. Though it participates in global sourcing for several components, Klaussner benefits from duty-free trade and remains competitive while still creating local manufacturing jobs. Company managers recently purchased the firm from its longtime family owner and are looking towards expanding the company internationally.

Headquarters: Asheboro, NC
Total Employees (2012): 2,100
NC Employees (2012): 1,770
NC Locations: 3
Total Revenue (2012): $116.8 million
Year Established: 1963
Primary NAICS: Upholstered Household Furniture Manufacturing (337121)
Sources: (1; 2)

Brands & Market Segments

Klaussner Furniture’s primary product category is upholstered household furniture, and the firm is also heavily involved in manufacturing other types of household furniture (non-upholstered wood, metal, and other materials), office furniture (wood and other materials), and other miscellaneous products (2). Klaussner acts as a merchant wholesaler for home furnishings and office equipment as well as runs its own Klaussner Corporation furniture stores.

In addition to the firm’s trademark Klaussner brand furniture, Klaussner manufactures a variety of other furniture products and styles through its other brands (1). Distinction and Comfort Designs are known for their upholstered, especially high-end leather, furniture. Dick Idol and World Vineyards brands market based on their unique styles, inspired by western and Napa Valley lifestyles, respectively. Klaussner also operates Prestige Fabricators, Inc. to produce advanced foam filling for domestic products and produces and markets Sealy mattresses and bed frames.

Strategy & Competitiveness

After the economic recession, Klaussner has turned towards the niche of servicing luxury clientele and producing more custom-order furniture (1). Klaussner is also expanding internationally.

Geographic Footprint

Asheboro, NC is the home of Klaussner’s headquarters as well as its warehouse, distribution facility, ten manufacturing plants, and five of its branches (2). In addition, Prestige Fabricators, Inc. and Klaussner Services are based in Asheville, NC (2). Klaussner just opened a permanent showroom in High Point, NC in 2011 (1). As an approved Foreign Trade Zone Manufacturer by the U.S. Commerce Department since 2011, Klaussner has the ability to import fabrics duty-free to Randolph County for cutting and sewing, allowing the firm to produce domestically, while remaining competitive with overseas producers (1).

Outside of North Carolina, Klaussner holds manufacturing and distribution facilities in Iowa, a showroom in Las Vegas, and Sofa Express, Inc., Klaussner’s furniture stores subsidiary, is headquartered in Columbus, OH (2). Klaussner Home Furnishing Galleries and stores stretch across the U.S (1). Klaussner has increased its worldwide services, now distributes globally, and imports fabrics, leather, memory foam bedding, and various types of unfinished furniture to allow greater product differentiation for consumers (1).

References
  1. Klaussner Home Furnishings. (2013). Retrieved December 6, 2013 from www.klaussner.com
  2. Hoover’s. (2013). Klaussner Corporation [company overview, family tree]. Retrieved December 6, 2013 from Hoover’s database.

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CV Industries, Inc.
Introduction

Operating through its furniture subsidiary Century Furniture, CV Industries produces mainly wood household furniture. It works from its hub in North Carolina, allowing for high customization capabilities, and also operates across the U.S. and sells abroad through authorized retailers. CV Industries seems to be more involved in textiles and design than several of the other top companies and focuses on upscale markets.

Headquarters: Hickory, NC
Total Employees (2012): 2,100
NC Employees (2012): 1,658
NC Locations: 9
Total Revenue (2012): $127.6 million
Year Established: 1947
Primary NAICS: Non-upholstered Wood Household Furniture Manufacturing (337122)
Sources: (1; 2)

Brands & Market Segments

Century Furniture focuses primarily on non-upholstered household furniture manufacturing, also producing upholstered, metal, and other household furniture, miscellaneous wood products, carpets and rugs, curtains and linens, and wholesale furniture (2).

CV’s major furniture brands include Century Leisure (outdoor furniture), Century Signature, Century Home Elegance, Century Leather, Century Studio Essentials, Century Trading Company, and various wood collections (1). CV furniture is also known for its partnerships with esteemed designers such as Oscar de la Renta, Charlotte Moss, and Richard Frenier (1).

Strategy & Competitiveness

In recovering from the housing crash and economic recession, Century is specializing in upscale residential furnishings, primarily non-upholstered (1).

Geographic Footprint

North Carolina is the center of the firm, serving as home to the headquarters of all of its subsidiaries, three upholstery factories in Hickory, and showroom in High Point (2). Century Furniture, which focuses on household furniture, and Expressions In Fabrics, Ltd., the company’s line of wood furniture retailers, are based in Hickory, NC (2). The CV Industries, Inc. branch is focused in Hildebran, NC and is involved in long-distance trucking services (2). Valdese Weavers is headquartered in Valdese, NC and manufactures contract textiles for hospitality and corporate industries (2). In all, CV Industries furniture is esteemed for its local NC manufacturing, which allows for high customization capabilities (1).

CV Industries has branches and showrooms across the country, with more than one location in California, Florida and Mississippi (2). Products are not sold directly to the public but through authorized dealers, retailers, and designers across North America, Australia, China and Russia (1).

References
  1. Century Furniture. (2013). Retrieved December 6, 2013 from www.centuryfurniture.com
  2. Hoover’s. (2013). CV Industries, Inc. [company overview, family tree]. Retrieved December 6, 2013 from Hoover’s database.

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Sherrill Furniture Company
Introduction

Sherrill is one of the few firms that has resisted the temptation to offshore production and maintains its entire chain of household furniture manufacturing in Hickory, NC, only looking outside of the state to distribute its products throughout the U.S. and Canada. It maintains a small-company feel and has extensive customization capabilities.

Headquarters: Hickory, NC
Total Employees (2012): 1,400
NC Employees (2012): 1,400
NC Locations: 7
Total Revenue (2012): $94.6 million
Year Established: 1944
Primary NAICS: Upholstered Household Furniture Manufacturing (337121)
Sources: (1; 2)

Brands & Market Segments

Sherrill’s primary products are upholstered household furniture pieces, but it also deals with non-upholstered wood, metal, and other household furniture as well as miscellaneous other manufactured products (2). The company is also involved as a furniture wholesaler, especially with home furnishings.

Products are sold under the Sherrill brand or one of the firm’s eight sister-company divisions (1). Though varying in style, Sherrill, Hickory White, Lillian August, and Mr. & Mrs. Howard all market upholstered and wood household furniture. Whittemore-Sherrill, Precedent Furniture, and DwellStudio are more involved with upholstered household pieces. Finally, Cth-Sherrill Occasional sells wood accent and occasional furniture, while Motioncraft specializes in upholstered motion seating for the home, such as recliners.

Strategy & Competitiveness

Since the recession, the company is shifting more into mid- and high-end styles of home furniture (1). Despite the trend of offshored manufacturing and the lure of cheaper prices abroad, Sherrill has stood firm in its promise of entirely domestic production (1).

Geographic Footprint

Sherrill’s entire line of production takes place in the Hickory, NC area, where the company is headquartered (2). Sherrill has eight branches in North Carolina. HWS Company, the subsidiary that deals with the Hickory White brand, is also headquartered in Hickory and has two North Carolina branches (2).

References
  1. Sherrill Furniture. (2013). Retrieved December 6, 2013 from www.sherrillfurniture.com
  2. Hoover’s. (2013). Sherrill Furniture Company [company overview, family tree]. Retrieved December 6, 2013 from Hoover’s database.

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Bernhardt Industries
Introduction

Bernhardt supplies a range of price-points, types, and styles of products, working through its subsidiary Bernhardt Furniture Company. It has a long history in NC and continues to concentrate manufacturing almost exclusively in the state, though Bernhardt is involved in global (especially Asian) sourcing to supplement domestic production. The firm is becoming more involved in producing furniture for commercial, corporate, and hospitality use.

Headquarters: Lenoir, NC
Total Employees (2012): 1,200 - 2,100
NC Employees (2012): 925
NC Locations: 6
Total Revenue (2012): $73.3 - $145.4 million
Year Established: 1889
Primary NAICS: Non-upholstered Wood Household Furniture Manufacturing (337122)
Sources: (1; 2)

Brands & Market Segments

Bernhardt primarily produces non-upholstered wood household furniture, though it is also heavily involved in the production of upholstered, metal, and other household furniture and miscellaneous wood product manufacturing (2). Bernhardt manufactures furniture for all rooms of the home, including the bedroom, dining room, home office, and living room, as well as some products for commercial use (1).

Bernhardt brands are split into three residential and two commercial divisions (1). Bernhardt Residential Casegoods and Bernhardt Residential Upholstery sell household furniture at midrange prices in a variety of styles and through a range of retail outlets. Bernhardt Interiors focuses on upholstered and occasional household products. Bernhardt’s commercial brands are Bernhardt Design, which sells contract casegoods, seating, and textiles for corporate offices through architects and design firms, and Bernhardt Hospitality, which markets products for hospitality guestrooms, suites, and public spaces through a separate sales force. Bernhardt also manufactures and markets Martha Stewart Furniture and Smithsonian Collection by Bernhardt.

Strategy & Competitiveness

Bernhardt benefits from producing a wide variety of products in terms of price and style, though in recent years it is focusing efforts on upscale casegoods and upholstered furniture (1). It is also differentiating into office and commercial furniture (1).

Geographic Footprint

Bernhardt was founded in Lenoir, NC in 1889, and today the company’s activities are still concentrated in North Carolina, mainly in Shelby, Cherryville, Lenoir, the location of its headquarters and many branches, High Point, the home of its only showroom, and Hickory, the location of the Bernhardt Furniture Outlet (2). Outside of Bernhardt’s major locations in North Carolina, the company maintains branches in Hollywood, CA and Chicago, IL (2).

Bernhardt began global sourcing in the 1980s, but only to supplement domestic production (1). The firm’s six Asian offices assist with coordination of production and quality control for offshore sources (1). The Bernhardt brand is distributed globally, reaching beyond the US and Canada to more than 51 countries through a network of stores, galleries, authorized dealers, and department stores (1).

References
  1. Bernhardt. (2013). Retrieved December 6, 2013 from www.bernhardt.com
  2. Hoover’s. (2013). Bernhardt Industries, Inc. [company overview, family tree]. Retrieved December 6, 2013 from Hoover’s database.

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