One More Ian Aftershock: Surging Home Products Sales

It’s a cruel irony that when devastating hurricanes, like last week’s Ian, hit Florida it’s a tragedy for so many people yet it also means local furniture and home products retailers are about to have a business bonanza.

To be clear: there’s no comparison between the tragic loss of life and property much of the central western coast of the state – as well areas inland and even on the Atlantic – suffered and good business for some retailers. It will take months and years for residents and locals to put their lives back together and parts of the state will most likely never be the same again.

But history has shown that when the state is hit by massive destructive hurricanes and storms, once people start the rebuilding process, local retailers selling home products experience booming sales for not just months but years. It starts with the home improvement and DIY retailers who supply the basic building products, from roofs to windows to flooring, that so many residential properties will need to replace. Plasterboard, paint, kitchen cabinets, fixtures and all the other basics of home construction will be in great demand from rebuilding homeowners.

Once those needs are addressed, shoppers will head to furniture stores to replace what could be entire households of living room, bedroom and dining room furnishings. Everything from sofas to lamps and from TVs and to other consumer electronics will all need to be replaced.

For a retail segment that has slowed significantly this year as Americans redirect their spending to out-of-home pursuits following two years of booming furnishings sales, this latest surge will be very much welcome, even if the reasons behind it are not. Gallows humor in the home business in Florida has often said the state needs a big destructive hurricane every couple of years to drive sales.

Again, this is no way makes light of the damage to life and property Hurricane Ian subjected much of the state to. It is just a fact of life for the Florida home renovation and furnishings business.

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