Many of us suspected that the pandemic would put the majority of homewares stores out of business. We thought that most of them would sink without trace like The Titanic.
Retail has been struggling for some time, and over the past few years my own local furniture centre has felt like a ghost town - even at weekends, and in spite of its wide selection of popular high street stores such as Freedom, Domayne, and Oz Design.
So imagine my surprise when I ventured out last weekend and found the centre buzzing, with a worryingly lack of evidence of social-distancing.
So why are homewares stores doing so well at the moment?
There are several reasons for this upturn in business:
1. Irresistible sales - With the initial downturn in business at the start of lockdown and the current end of financial year, many homewares stores are trying to make up for their disastrous start to the year by knocking old pre-Covid stock down by as much as 80%.
2. We're in the money! Those of us lucky enough to still have a job have extra cash to burn after the past three months at home.
3. Our increased desire for comfort - Three months at home have highlighted the tired and outdated parts of our homes. The virus has made us more aware of the importance of our "castle" and we've re-entered society in a new "seize the day" frame of mind.
4. Winter - There's nothing like a drop in temperature to encourage us to spend more time at home, which draws more attention to those rooms that need a refresh.
4. The impulse/splurge factor - Our outlook has changed since the virus entered our lives. We're living for the moment, and there's no better way to celebrate our release from isolation than with a spot of retail therapy.
If, like me, you need to touch and feel before you buy, there's a wide array of homewares stock just waiting to be discovered, right on your doorstep
Of course, there's still a lot of competition between retail and online stores - which is good news for us when it comes to pricing. But if your shopping habits are anything like mine, i.e. you need to touch and feel before you buy, there's a wide array of homewares just waiting to be discovered, right on your doorstep. Particularly, when it comes to larger pieces of furniture, which can be costly to return when you buy them online if they don't fit or aren't quite right.
Check out some of the bargains I discovered on my recent trip:
These three gorgeous TABLE LAMPS that would sit perfectly in any coastal home: The first is from Myer (reduced from $219 to $169), the second is from Freedom (reduced from $239 to $190), and the third is from Adairs (down from $199.99 to $159.99).
And if they're not enough to wet your palate, there are also some stylish and versatile OUTDOOR FURNITURE bargains. Winter is the best time to find discounted outdoor furniture, and I loved this outdoor setting from Barbeques Galore (reduced from $2199 to $1699), and this occasional outdoor chair from Pottery Barn (reduced from $249 to $125.95). Frankly, I couldn't help myself and picked up this Peacock 3-Piece Outdoor Setting from Domayne (reduced from $1290 to $799).
And finally, CUSHIONS - which some of you may remember are my biggest weakness. And what's not to love about these gorgeous striped cushions from West Elm (reduced from $59.00 to $29.95), or these pastel and jewel Tamarama cushions from Pillow Talk (reduced from $39.95 to $29.95). For something a little more funky, check out this Gorman cushion (reduced from $89 to $71.20).
Our local stores need our support after the recent damage to the economy
So if you're in the mood to redecorate or need a few key pieces to style your property for sale, brush the cobwebs off your credit card and get out to your local furniture centre. Support local business as you take advantage of these and the other great bargains out there.
Image 1: www.studio-mcgee.com