Shoppers Return to Ikea and Other Furniture Stores In Droves

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Shoppers are flocking to Ikea and other furniture stores even more than they did last fall, new foot traffic data shows. 

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Although the number of visits to Ikea stores nationwide fell from May through July compared to 2019, foot traffic to the Swedish furniture giant rose 8 percent year over year in August, according to retail analytics firm Placer.ai. The number of visits only rose more in the first few weeks of September, increasing 10.9 percent year-over-year between Aug. 31 and Sept. 21.  

The data comes as Ikea stores in New York and New Jersey experience significant crowding, and the brand is increasingly sold out of its furniture basics in-store and online. The 80-year-old, multinational retailer has struggled with supply chain issues, as manufacturing has slowed in China and other countries during the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, demand for furniture has surged, as Americans settle into the prospect of spending several more months of their time largely at home. Desks have become difficult to find, particularly as the new school year has begun with remote learning throughout much of the country. 

Bob’s Discount Furniture and Pier 1 have also seen customer visits surge over the past few months, with in-store traffic rising nearly a third year over year for both chains in July, Placer.ai noted last month. Those trends have continued, with foot traffic at Bob’s stores rising more than 50 percent annually on some days in September. However, the pandemic furniture buying surge is coming too late for Pier 1. The 60-year-old furniture retailer is going through the bankruptcy process and is slowly closing its stores. 

The resurgence of furniture and home goods sellers is relatively unique during the pandemic. Many national retail chains—particularly apparel retailers—have struggled to generate sales and bring customers back to stores as coronavirus cases have increased nationwide, and a growing number of Americans find themselves out of work.