Mass merchant home centers such as Home Depot have made life difficult for independent home furnishing retailers, but there are examples of smaller stores that are surviving.
In the lighting sector, independents have tried to avoid competing on price and looked for particular niches for which home centers are less suited, such as high-end items.
Increased competition has forced independents to become more efficient and more customer focused.
There’s one big advantage to being a little fish in a sea of big ones:
You Become A Strong Swimmer To Avoid Being Swallowed
Such is the case of the independent lighting showroom. As such massive home centers as Home Depot, Builders Square, Hechinger, Rickel and others move into town and compete for the consumer’s dollar, the specialized lighting experts must work harder to make it.
According to industry estimates, home centers’ share of the $1.06 billion market for lighting fixtures jumped to 41 percent in 1993, up from 29 percent in ’92, while the specialty stores’ share declined from 58 percent to 51 percent.
In number of units sold, home centers may have surpassed the specialty stores. To counteract this shift, showrooms are becoming more business savvy.
Realizing that they can’t match the buying or promotional power of their gigantic counterparts, the mom-and-pops have had to redefine themselves, often playing up the advantages of their small size and flexibility in order to effectively – and profitably – coexist with the volume retailers.
Successful independents have refocused their merchandise mix, learned to better manage their space and inventory, taken advantage of educational tools offered by vendors and industry associations, and concentrated on customer service.
A New York-based manufacturing executive, Murray Feiss, said he believes the small independents are stronger for … Read More