• Hearst Pittsburgh

Levin Furniture Is Out; Who will claim the Top Spot in Furniture retail in Pittsburgh?

Pittsburgh’s oldest furniture store, Levin’s, is gone. The furniture market is wide open. Which furniture retailer will step up to take Levin’s place? There’s no shortage of competitors.


A little history on furniture shopping in Pittsburgh


Ask anyone where they’d buy furniture and at least half of the answers would be Levin. Or it used to be. In 2017 Levin Furniture, founded in 1920, was sold to Art Van Furniture, an entity that also owned Wolf Furniture. Just three years later, Art Van filed for bankruptcy. Former owner Robert Levin tried to buy the company back in March of 2020, but the deal fell through. Art Van filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy that same month; in April it became Chapter 7 bankruptcy or full liquidation. Check out what happened to Levin’s shopper preference during this time.


Competition


With Levin’s out of the picture, there are several competitors who are rising up, but their popularity is determined largely by geographic location and age of customer. IKEA, Big Lots, Bob’s Discount Furniture, and the relatively new Ashley Furniture are all on the radar. Online only retailer Wayfair had less than 1% awareness with Pittsburgh furniture shoppers in 2016. Today 5% of all Pittsburgh metro adults name Wayfair as an option for furniture. Narrow the target customer to Pittsburgh Millennial women and Wayfair’s awareness jumps to 13%.

For the Pittsburgh metro as a whole, here is the trend of top of mind awareness for furniture stores:


Looking at furniture store preference by metro county, IKEA ranks first or second after Levin’s in all but Fayette County, where it ranks sixth. Local stores have a following in their home counties: Weiss Furniture in Westmoreland County and AK Nahas in Beaver County


The message is just as important as the medium being used!


The timing of Levin’s exit coupled with the COVID pandemic creates an unusual opportunity for furniture stores to appeal to and claim Levin’s former customers. Stores like Sheely’s in Ohio and Chesler’s in Uniontown can take advantage of this time when shoppers are looking for a new furniture store and watching TV in record numbers. If you are a furniture retailer in Pittsburgh or online only, now is the time to talk to your potential customers. Be sure to talk to them in a language (advertising) that they understand and appreciate. Remember – the message is just as important as the medium being used.


By the way - if you sell furniture and you don't offer online sales ... watch out! This Wayfair move seems like a leading indicator of things to come.


Need help with honing your advertising and marketing plan to reach the RIGHT shopper (furniture or other) – at the right time? Reach out to Hearst Pittsburgh – we’d love to help!

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