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Shipping Backlog Up 362%, Bassett Furniture to Add Factory in June

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March 25, 2021 | Bill Esler

Basset Furniture Retail Store

Bassett Furniture sells at its own stores and via dealers. Upholstered furniture is made in the U.S. 

Newton, NC – Bassett Furniture Industries, Inc. (Nasdaq: BSET) reports that its wholesale orders for the first quarter increased 44%, reaching $83 million for the first quarter. But its wholesale shipping backlog spiked, jumping 362% from a year ago, to $67.5 million, and 23% higher than at the end of last quarter, in November 2020.

Bassett Furniture Industries sells furniture through its 97 company-owned stores or licensees, but most of the volume is wholesaled through 700 accounts held by other stores and through designers. To catch up, Bassett says it is negotiating a lease for a 123,000-sq.-ft. upholstered furniture manufacturing facility in Newton, NC, the town in which it is headquartered. (An existing Bassett Furniture hardwood frame finishing cell is shown at below.) 

Bassett Furniture hardwood frame finishing cell

Aiming to conclude the lease agreement by the end of March, Bassett would begin manufacturing there in June 2021.

“We are excited at the prospect of adding this additional location so close to our existing upholstery manufacturing platform,” says Rob Spilman, chairman and CEO of Bassett. “If negotiations are successful, this will provide us with additional capacity to begin to reduce the above backlog to a more manageable level.” 

The U.S. residential furniture industry overall is experiencing booming sales, with backlogs up dramatically due to increased volume, or due to supply chain glitches from COVID-19. Bassett and Craftmaster recently reported shortages of latex foam resulting from winter storms in Texas. 

“Supply chain bottlenecks in this environment of surging demand are the greatest business challenge we face,” according to Paul Toms, chairman of Hooker Furniture, Martinsville, VA. At a February 2021 earnings call with investment analysts, Toms said that limitations on supply include scarcity of some raw materials and components, limited availability of shipping containers and ocean vessel space, and production delays from some import suppliers. “In addition, we’ve had to work around some COVID-related employee absences, all while keeping employee safety a top priority.” 

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