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Home furnishings sales have been sluggish for some time now, but IBM’s latest analytics-based forecast indicates that’s all about to change.
Sales of home furnishings in the United States are expected to shoot higher in the second quarter, with in-store sales increasing nearly 8 percent to $23.2 billion and online sales increasing 28.4 percent. Combined, sales of home furnishings are expected to grow 16.6 percent in the second quarter.

What’s behind the home refresh? IBM attributes the sales bump to a handful of important trends:
• The concept of “accessorizing” is moving from the apparel market to home furnishings as many homeowners have decided to stay put rather than move.

• Homes are getting smaller, compelling consumers to “resize” their furnishings to accommodate smaller spaces.

• Disposable income is rising as more people go back to work.

• Rental activity is increasing.

Oh, and there’s one more thing … it’s the Year of the Dragon, considered one of good fortune in Chinese astrology. Tradition holds that the Year of the Dragon brings in the four blessings of the East: wealth, virtue, harmony and longevity. That translates into lots of weddings -- and lots of folks setting up their first homes.