Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.
Ethan Allen plans to reopen design centers in some states beginning May 1, and La-Z-Boy will resume manufacturing at some U.S. production plants and open several retail locations on a reduced schedule in the coming weeks, the companies announced Wednesday.
The news comes more than five weeks after Ethan Allen temporarily closed its stores and manufacturing operations resulting in the furlough of over 3,000 employees. La-Z-Boy, meanwhile, said it put 6,800 employees on furlough (70 percent of its workers) and cut employee pay after closing its stores at the end of March.
The new coronavirus has changed the retail landscape dramatically with malls and department stores closed across the country. Macy’s announced last month it would furlough the majority of its 125,000 staffers, sinking sales after being forced to shutter. And big-box stores like JC Penney and Ross also furloughed hundreds of workers.
The increased furniture production from Ethan Allen and Lay-Z-Boy, however, could be a sign that there’s still demand for at-home staples with more Americans sheltering in place and working from home. Mattress Firm, with more than 2,500 stores throughout the country, told USA Today select locations still remain open with other smaller mattress retailers arguing they’re essential because they provide household consumer products.
To cater to online shoppers, Ethan Allen CEO Farooq Kathwari said interior design associates working remotely have relied on virtual sales tools such as its inHome augmented reality app, 3-D room planning tools, Skype and FaceTime.