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Sprucing up for spring? Prepare for home furnishing delays

Waiting is the name of the furniture game.

HOUSTON — When Jim and Erin Shelton went to the La-Z-Boy store for a sleeper sofa, they were surprised to hear that delivery could take nine months.

“It was, like, 'Wow, I can’t believe it’s gonna be that long,'” Jim Shelton said.

The salesperson explained some of the shipping issues and it made sense to the couple from Montgomery, Texas.

“Companies are really having a hard time right now with that shutdown and people losing their jobs,” Jim Shelton said.

Waiting is the name of the furniture game, according to Greg Portell, a partner in consumer and retail practice at consulting firm Kearney.

“Consumers want new furniture,” Portell said. “They’re redecorating. There’s a very strong consumer demand. The troubling side of the ledger is the supply chain because of all the disruptions we’ve seen.”

The disruptions have overwhelmed factories, clogged or closed ports and there's also a shortage of shipping containers around the world.

The industry took another hit in February when production stopped on a chemical used to make foam for mattresses and furnishings. The chemical is made along the Gulf Coast and a winter storm crippled Texas and Louisiana for days.

The Sheltons paid for the sofa and will plan for its arrival in the fall.

"I guess that’s just the time we’re living in,” Jim Shelton said.

Industry experts predict that the furniture business will bounce back in six to nine months as well. Until then, you might consider asking for the floor model if you need or want it right away.

Leslie Carothers, CEO of Savour Partnership, has some other ideas. Savour Partnership helps brands and designers in the home furnishings industry with digital marketing and magazine design. Leslie suggested asking the furniture shop to see if they have a quick ship program. The wait won’t be as long. Carothers also said to consider rent-to-own furniture, a resale shop or find home stagers near you to see if they’re selling any pieces.