Who owns United Furniture Industries? Inflation may have spelled doom for company that laid off 2.7K workers

Who owns United Furniture Industries? Inflation may have spelled doom for company that laid off 2.7K workers
United Furniture Industries lays off 2700 employees overnight (United Furniture Industries/Facebook)

OKOLONA, MISSISSIPPI: Altogether 2,700 employees of a furniture company received the shock of their lives when they were informed that they were being laid off. As they were getting ready for  "big Thanksgiving parties," the lives of the former United Furniture Industries employees had been "torn apart." On Monday, November 21, all the employees were let go as the business "suddenly" ceased operations. However, it has emerged that the business began to shuffle and fire CEOs and executives in June, along with firing 300 workers and shut down its branches in other states.

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The company had fired its CEO, CFO, and executive vice-president of sales in June, and hired former Standard Furniture President Todd Evans as CEO. Following that, the business revamped its sales organization and appointed Ruff Thomas and Keith News to sales leadership positions, with Thomas as designated president of sales for Lane's domestic division, and News reportedly becoming president of sales for Lane's import division.

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United Furniture Industries is a manufacturer and furniture designer. The business creates a variety of furniture with the best materials and skilled artisans, bringing in items that are luxurious and comfy. Based in Okolona, Mississippi, the company produces furniture under the Lane Home Furnishings and its own brands. For an undisclosed amount, it purchased the brand from Heritage Home Group LLC in 2017, Fox Business reported.

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The Daily Beast reported that at least three federal lawsuits were now being filed against the company in the Northern District of Mississippi. Toria Neal, who has been employed by the business since July 2014, filed a class-action lawsuit recently, stating that the compnay fired every employee on November 21 shortly before midnight, in violation of federal law, with the exception of "over-the-road drivers." She contended that the requisite 60-day written notice to employees was not provided. Also, two additional employees, Willie Poe and Frances Alomari, brought legal action against the business, alleging the same things.

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Workers at United Furniture Industries were notified late on Monday night through email and text to not come in for work on Tuesday, November 22. The layoffs took place as a recession that economists anticipate to begin in 2023 was underway. The layoffs, according to the memo, were carried out, "At the instruction of the board of directors … we regret to inform you that due to unforeseen business circumstances, the company has been forced to make the difficult decision to terminate the employment of all its employees, effective immediately, on Nov. 21." The memo only described the circumstances surrounding the layoffs as being "difficult and unexpected," without going into further detail. According to Furniture Today, a trade newspaper, the company removed its CEO and appointed Todd Evans as CEO in his place. 

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According to the Daily Press, experts theorized that factors like inflation, the current turmoil in Ukraine, and rising gas prices may have contributed to the company's downfall. According to Robert Cottam, a former consultant at the company's North Carolina division, "Many furniture manufacturers were having gangbuster sales in 2021 with the pandemic. But, when those inflationary factors hit hard, it really put a squeeze on the discretionary spending of those who purchase promotional furniture." Virginia's Lane was established in 1912, and in 1972 it was amalgamated with Action Industries of Tupelo. 

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