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Metropolitan Furniture closing last Houston store

E-commerce disruption, national competitors played into retreat

By Clint Engel

HOUSTON — Metropolitan Furniture here is closing its flagship and only remaining store here after 73 years in business. The family-owned retailer, founded by brothers Harry, Sammy and Hymie Abramson in 1946, hired Tiger Capital Group to run the Going-out-of-Business sales at its 60,000-square-foot showroom at 7400 North Freeway in Houston.

Most recently led by sons of the founders Arnold and Ronald Abramson who are retiring, Metropolitan previously closed stores on Southwest Freeway and Katy Freeway “in response to disruptive trends such as e-commerce, demographic shifts and the proliferation of national chain stores,” Tiger Capital’s Director of Furniture Solutions Mark Bannon noted in a press release.

“This is the end of an era for a landmark name in Houston furniture retailing,” Bannon said.  “The business survived the Korean, Vietnamese and Gulf Wars, as well as several recessions and hurricanes, but disruption in the industry continues to take its toll on local furniture retailers.”

Bannon later added  Metropolitan is closing “due to general paradigm shifts in the industry, including the proliferation of e-commerce giants like Amazon and Wayfair, as well as the effects of the more globally minded Millennial shopper, who is not as brand-loyal or community-loyal as their Baby Boomer predecessors and more inclined to lifestyle choices and instant gratification.”

He would not identify the specific national chains that impacted the retailer but said, generally, they are major chains backed by significant capital, with strong buying power and quick delivery capabilities.

The decision to retire and close was already in the works before than Top 100 company American Furniture Warehouse announce its plans to enter the market this year, Bannon said.

He declined to disclose the brands being liquidated in the sale but said they represent a mix of mid-priced to upper-end national brands.

Bannon characterized the GOB as “a final thank-you and goodbye from Metropolitan Furniture to generations of loyal customers.”