With Labor Day weekend behind us, Bedding News Now spoke with a few independent retailers to see how the holiday was.
While it seems many retailers fared well, Greg Jent, co-owner of Discount Mattress Outlet in Bowling Green, Kentucky, said from what he’s heard from other retailers, different parts of the country had different experiences.
For some, sales were off the charts. But for others, “dismal” doesn’t even begin to describe it.
“The Saturday of Labor Day weekend was one of the slowest Saturdays we’ve had this year,” he says. “Thursday and Friday were good, and Sunday and Monday were great, with people buying larger tickets. Whatever you think your highest ticket should be, you can always drive higher if you know what you’re doing.”
He says he talked to a lot of dealers and they all told him that they didn’t have a terrible weekend, but it was spotty.
“But the fact that it wasn’t as consistent as past quality weekends was a little bit offputting,” he says.
ESC Mattress in Seattle had a bad August, according to co-owner Joshua Rigsby, but it turned out to be the calm before the storm.
It had one of its Top 5 best sales days ever on the Saturday of Labor Day, as well as strong sales from Friday through Monday. Sunday was the slowest day, but Rigsby says if the store had that traffic when it wasn’t a holiday weekend it would be meaningful.
“We had sold as much on Saturday of this year as we did all Labor Day weekend last year,” Rigsby says.
Jesse Kostuhoski, vice president of sales at Boston FAM in Wisconsin, agreed that traffic on certain days was different based on geographical location, and he expected traffic to be down. He also says Labor Day has always been better than the Saturday or Sunday before, and that’s been true for his 27-year career.
And his store had a solid Labor Day — up 5% from last year when traffic was down 15%.
“We’re doing the most with the customers we get in the store and focusing on conversion,” he says. “We also sell furniture, so if somebody comes in looking for furniture and then we also help them find a better night’s sleep. Our big focus Labor Day weekend and all year has continued to be that we’re going to have less traffic, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find a way to win.”
Brandon Brewer, owner of Mid Tenn Furniture in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, had an outstanding holiday weekend, making over $100,000 through 93 transactions.
“We did about $126,000 in business, which was quite impressive compared to last year when we only did $40,000,” he says. We saw a lot of traffic, and I had five salespeople working plus myself, but I could have used about five more.”
He says he expected to see some growth — though not necessarily at this level — because his traffic has not declined.
“Customers are shopping more and they’re looking for better deals,” he says. “They’re going to multiple stores and I think a lot of people waited for Labor Day. Our success is because we came with strong offers on Instagram and Facebook. And I think other retailers that came out with good promotions probably did pretty well.”
Scott Vaughn, CEO of Happy ZZZ’s Sit N’ Sleep in Kentucky, says his stores had the best month ever in July, as well as a great August, though he wasn’t sure it was going to be that good.
And Labor Day turned out to be the biggest sales day in the company’s history — up 61% over Labor Day in 2022.
“There was a lot of traffic, and we attribute that to our advertising,” he says. “We’re spending a lot more on advertising just to get people here and make sure we get the traffic that’s out there. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, we had a billboard up locally We use both online advertising as well as network TV to get the word out about its promotions.”
Bedding News Now reached out to retailers who privately reported disappointing Labor Day results but all have declined to comment for this story.