Why does it take 6 months or even 8 months to buy a couch

The furniture show may be delayed

DEERFIELD TOWNSHIP, Ohio — If you have been looking for a new couch or bedroom, or talked to family members re-doing their living room, you probably have heard about the long delays for furniture these days.

Melissa Taylor told me about her five-month wait for a new couch earlier this year.

"They haven't started production on my couch, so here I am just waiting," she said of the empty corner in her family room.

Cindy Roekker was waiting four months for a bathroom vanity, unable to use her main bath.

"I'm at my wit's end and I'm starting to panic because we need a bathroom vanity," she said.

So we went to Furniture Fair, the Cincinnati-based regional furniture chain, to see if this year of delays may finally be improving.

Some signs of delays easing

Head buyer Nick Daniels says they are starting to see light at the end of the tunnel after nearly a year of frustrating delays, especially in getting couches.

He tells me stores, however, are as frustrated as their customers.

"There are so many broken parts of our supply chain," Daniels said. "That creates an unpredictable end-date as to when we are going to get it. "

He warns about ordering furniture that needs to come in shipping containers from China, Vietnam, and Malaysia.

"We have some things coming from Asia where we are now waiting a year," Daniels said.

If you want the speediest delivery, look for something that says "Made in the USA," Daniels said.

But because of foam and fabric shortages, that's still no guarantee.

"Even though some things might be made in America, some of their fabrics or certain components are still coming from overseas," Daniels said. "And that holds them up until the fabric arrives."

Good news: Daniels sees things starting to improve, especially with American-made couches and chairs, now that Texas foam factories are running again.

Several major foam suppliers shut down this spring due to ice storm damage.

Daniels says their warehouses are no longer as empty as they were in mid-summer.

"We've got a lot more in that warehouse in Fairfield than we did a few weeks ago," he said.

How to avoid a long wait

So what can you do to avoid a long wait? The New York Times says:

  • Look for a "Made in the USA" label.
  • Be patient, and expect a significant wait for anything that has to be ordered from out of the immediate region.
  • Ask what the store has in their local warehouse; that is the easiest way to get something in a week or two.
  • Consider the floor model, if the store will sell it.

If a couch, bedroom set, or dining set has to be built, you could be sitting on the floor for a while.

"For the vast majority of the industry, I would say six to eight months is now the typical time to have a couch built and delivered," Daniels said.

Need that furniture in the next week or two? Ask for something that is in stock in the Cincinnati area.

That way you don't face months of waiting, and don't waste your money.

Furniture

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