NWFA 2023 Expo kicks into high gear

Home Featured Post NWFA 2023 Expo kicks into high gear

NWFA 2023 ExpoMilwaukee, Wis.—The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) kicked off its 2023 Expo here earlier this week amid strong attendance. The event marks the group’s return to the city of Milwaukee after the event had to be canceled in the spring of 2020 due to the onslaught of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s great to be here in Milwaukee to share some good news and discuss some of the challenges we face as an industry,” said Michael Martin, NWFA president and CEO, in his opening keynote remarks to a packed crowd. “Wisconsin is known for many things: dairy farming, badgers and beer. But it also has a rich history with forest products. Nearly half of Wisconsin’s land area is covered by forests, making the state a large contributor to the forest products industry. In fact, lumber and wood products account for 18% of Wisconsin’s exports, boosting the state’s economy and employing over 60,000 people.”

In his address to attendees, which included professional hardwood flooring contractors and installers, as well as distributors and manufacturers, Martin provided his outlook for the segment in 2023. Citing survey results from Hardwood Floors—NWFA’s official magazine—Martin offered a cautiously optimistic outlook. The survey showed 21% of hardwood flooring contractors anticipate significant sales growth of 8% or more, while 18% expect moderate growth of 3% to 7%. Another 40% expect sales to remain at 2022 levels.

At the same time, however, Martin noted that challenges such as supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, inflation, the housing market and overall economic uncertainty remain big concerns. “Changes come fast and can be unpredictable,” he told attendees. “Think about how just the conflict in the Ukraine has impacted our industry. Nearly half of NWFA member companies experienced supply disruptions of Russian Baltic birch used for engineered flooring over the last year. Suppliers had to adjust quickly by using domestically sourced alternatives like poplar cores or imported alternatives like eucalyptus. Furthermore, 90% of our contractors say they’ve lost business to supply chain disruptions, long lead times, higher prices and back orders.”

Other concerns Martin cited include the political climate, competition from non-wood flooring and government regulation. “The price of building has risen tremendously, and many find they are over budget toward the end of any project,” he explained. “Therefore, the original real hardwood they had hoped to install may no longer be the case. Today, about half of our members report negative impacts from wood flooring look-alike products. Of those respondents concerned about the impact, 32% anticipate a worsening in the coming year. Conversely, 35% of respondents have yet to experience a negative impact on real wood sales at all. Thus, demand for real wood flooring remains strong, especially for high-end customers.”

Despite these challenges, Martin said the wood flooring industry remains resilient and committed to progress. “Most NWFA members today are focused on enhancing existing processes to increase efficiency. Many are expanding product lines or services. In addition, many are adding new team members, leveraging existing technologies or improvements, and exploring resiliency and differences in the supply chains that they need to serve them.”

Other highlights from day one of the convention include the presentations of the 2023 NWFA Wood Floor of the Year Awards, followed by a tour of the Harley Davidson Motorcycle Museum.

(Look for more coverage of the NWFA Convention in the May 8/15 edition of FCNews.)

Must Read

NWFA 2023 Wood Floor of the Year winners announced

St. Louis, Mo.—The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) has announced the winners of its 2023 Wood Floor of the Year Awards. The awards were developed...

Cali expands Legends collection

San Diego, Calif.— Cali, the omni-channel flooring brand, is expanding its popular luxury vinyl collection, Legends, with four fresh colors. The new shades draw...

Hallmark Floors partners with CCA Global

Ontario, Calif.— Hallmark Floors, a leading manufacturer of premium hardwood flooring, has partnered with CCA Global, a buying group that connects flooring retailers with...

Mannington publishes first Corporate Responsibility Report

Salem, N.J.—Reflective of its longstanding commitment to be a responsible corporate citizen, Mannington Mills, Inc., issued its first formal Corporate Responsibility Report detailing its...

LSI Flooring expands Manhattan team

New York, N.Y.— LSI Flooring, located here, announced the hiring of Stacy Pae as sales support rep specialist for its Manhattan territory. In this role,...

NRF predicts soft landing, not recession

Washington, D.C.—Economic indicators are giving conflicting signs but the nation does not appear to be in a recession and should be headed toward a...
Some text some message..