Below are some additional comments from Andy Counts, CEO of the American Home Furnishings Alliance in response to questions posed on the state of the residential furniture industry:

Wood & Wood Products: Overall, how do your members’ sales from the last 12 months compare to the previous 12 months? What is your members’ sales forecast for the next 12 months?

Andy Counts: Preliminary estimates would indicate around a 3% improvement at retail year over year. Industry analysts project a possible 5% improvement in 2011 weighted primarily in the back half as we enter a strong 2012.

W&WP: What are the biggest challenges to your members and your industry in 2011? What are the biggest opportunities for your members and your industry in 2011?

Counts: The same factors that lead the industry into the current recession are still at play. Housing and consumer confidence remain the primary hurdles to industry growth. However, most industry players believe that they have made the changes necessary to remain viable and are positioned for growth. As a result of this lean structure any increase in business will go straight to the bottom line.

W&WP: What do you think it will take for your members’ companies to have success in 2011?

Counts: We are hopeful that the job market will continue to show signs of improvement. Seasonal housing sales are projected to be more in line with historic averages. This will give consumers confidence to reenter the marketplace and purchase our goods.

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