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ISBN NO. 1543-3803
August 2019
Volume 9 No. 8


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Back to Questions | Disclaimer You Should Read

Where do Drexel Heritage, Ethan Allen and Expressions Furniture fit in the upholstery and case goods hierarchy? Typically we are piece by piece purchasers, but right now we are looking at child's bedroom, dining room and study furniture -- trying to get the best quality while paying attention to price. I fell in love with a Kindel table, but with a number of rooms to update in the coming months, not sure I want to spend that much. It sure is difficult looking at anything else when you've looked at Kindel, though... Thanks for your insights!

The good news is that these three companies are close to each other in quality and price. There is a similarity in style and quality. But they are vertically controlled companies meaning they have tighter say over how their dealers set prices. Ethan Allen and Expressions manage prices by owning the stores that sell their furniture. That gives them many advantages but it also allows them to set their own price and make it difficult for you to comparison shop. They may even set a minimum price the dealer can put on the furniture so it becomes difficult to compare "apples to apples" when shopping. Think of a specialty clothing store selling their own brand. You know the merchandise is has a higher markup because there is no direct competition for that identical brand - you can only get it at their store. Of course, savvy shoppers know what to look for and understand quality and can compare features to determine if the clothes are worth the extra price you pay.

Therein though lies the problem with furniture. Only a true expert with decades of experience can tell at a glance whether a piece of furniture is worth what's being charged. Manufacturers who control their prices are competitive with each other but what if you compare them to say, C. R. Laine, or Pearson, Bradington Young, or Lane? Before you put down your money, I would do more shopping around in regular furniture stores that sell products that allow dealers to be more competitive.
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