Jan. 14, 2015

Las Vegas Winter Market - January 2015

We enjoyed our 50 hours at the Winter Las Vegas Furniture Market, and we will call it a big success. The halls were full and the exhibitors were upbeat (except during the NFL games Sunday). While the rest of the world seems to be struggling, the US is doing okay, and most folks think the next few years will be good for our industry. So Vegas is getting stronger as a result. The hot topic of conversation was the Long Beach port slow-down and pending strike, and the impact on our import industry.

Mergers & Acquisitions are front and center as the general economy is getting stronger, the furniture trends are positive, and capital remains relatively cheap. Strong companies are buying weak ones, large companies are buying small ones, and Private Equity is furiously looking for deals given their huge pool of available funds. With the marketplace for selling now open, owners are getting their companies correctly valued and preparing for a sale over the next 1-2 years. Call us and let us help you with this thinking.

Several high profile deals will be announced in the First Quarter, 2015. We are seeing more interest in US upholstery manufacturing, as the Asia costs are going up, and a renewed interest in Mexico as alternative to Asia, given its comparative costs, no tariff/duty issues, and proximity to the US market. Even some Asian investors are looking to balance Asia manufacturing with some US domestic manufacturing footprint.

On January 5th, we announced the sale of Dicey Mills to Valdese Weavers. Both companies are prominent suppliers to the upholstery industry, and this transaction showcases how large, strong companies such as Valdese Weavers are seeking growth via acquisition and product line extension. Congratulations to both parties for a win-win deal!

We are pleased to welcome Bo Stump to our firm, continuing our 3rd. generation development of future leaders of The Stump Companies. Bo will be an Analyst in the Investment Banking Group, working closely with his father Tim. Bo, along with his colleague and cousin John Stump, are grandsons of J. Ralph Stump, our company’s founder and Chairman Emeritus.

Quote of the market: "If Furniture Today is correct, and the industry grows at 5% this year, then we are looking at $5 Billion of revenue growth – and that’s available to all participants – and that’s a lot of money!" opined one industry veteran.

Book Recommendation: Business Adventures: 12 Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street, by John Brooks. A great read, and a favorite of Warren Buffet and Bill Gates.

Call us and let us help you navigate our exciting and ever-changing industry.

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