Is Natuzzi sketchy?
March 4, 2007 3:46 PM   Subscribe

What's the deal with Natuzzi sofas--is their long lead time due to poor management, or are they just overloaded with orders? And why does there seem to be no information on the internet about ordering or styles?

In a somewhat trendy furniture store the other day, we contemplated buying the "david" sofa or the "platinum" sofa by Natuzzi. The sales associates told us that any sofa from Natuzzi would take 4 months for delivery. I know furniture takes a while, but this seemed excessive, especially if it ends up getting delayed beyond the initial estimate. We decided to go home and search the internet to see if the price and lead time was standard, but to our dismay, not only could we not find ordering or pricing information; we could barely find any information at all. I was hoping to look up the leather color options for our two choices, but I couldn't even find the models mentioned on any of the (few) retailer websites that mentioned Natuzzi sofas. Is that weird? It seems like it's a well-recognized brand and I would have expected more info out there. I loved the feel of these sofas and would really like to get one, but not if it's going to be a year before it actually arrives. Does anyone know the deal with this company?
posted by ubu to Home & Garden (15 answers total)
4 months is pretty normal. Most special order furniture takes around 3 months before it is delivered to you.
posted by mphuie at 3:54 PM on March 4, 2007

You're contradicting yourself here (or maybe just exaggerating for effect, I don't know) by stating that the sofas take four months, and then a year to arrive. Which one is it, it can't be both... A year is excessive, but I know Natuzzi sofas are made in Italy and then flown over so that explains both the cost and then the time frame. Four months in this case for a decent couch seems entirely reasonable. I was going to order one in Australia and was told 4 months also for what it's worth. I guess if you want more info than the site gives you, you can always get them to send you a brochure or call one of their stores.
posted by Jubey at 4:06 PM on March 4, 2007

I should have mentioned. . . when the sales lady told us about the 4-month wait, she phrased it in such a way that it seemed fairly out of the ordinary for the brand. And she acted like she expected it to be a dealbreaker. Maybe that was just her take on it, though.

At any rate, that was the reason that it seemed out of the ordinary, and when I couldn't find any info on the web for them, I wondered if they might have some management problems.

Jubey--yes, I was exaggerating for effect--as in, if someone who had ordered a sofa wrote in and told me they had been quoted four months and it really took a year, I would not like to order one.
posted by ubu at 4:16 PM on March 4, 2007

I recently ordered a new (not Natuzzi) furniture set. Our estimated lead time is 12 weeks.
posted by PEAK OIL at 4:30 PM on March 4, 2007

Often the delay is because shipping is slow... they may only have one shipment a month, and it may take weeks in transit.
posted by smackfu at 4:43 PM on March 4, 2007

When we got our first leather sofa nine years ago, the salesperson also warned us about the 4-month wait for Natuzzi - supposedly because of shipping.

We ended up choosing another brand because of this. So, it's not a new thing, and yes, it's a dealbreaker for some people.
posted by Ostara at 5:05 PM on March 4, 2007

As a data point, we waited 10 weeks for a couch from Pottery Barn.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 5:25 PM on March 4, 2007

Four months seems like a ridiculous amount of time, but if it's being sent from Italy it may be possible.

My furniture from EQ3, made in Mexico, only took about one month from order to pickup. Got to choose the fabric and everything. This was also during one of their rare sales, which I would expect would slow things down.
posted by meowzilla at 5:43 PM on March 4, 2007

Why such long delays for furniture? In part, it's because there's so many combinations of colors, materials, and so forth that it would be expensive to maintain a ready inventory, and nigh-to-impossible with some highly customized or low volume materials.

But, by now, the bigger reason is because it's very profitable for everyone in the chain (manufacturers, distributors, and retailers) to maintain (effectively) zero inventory and long lead times, and nobody in the furniture business has chosen to try to rock the boat.

Probably not unrelated that furniture is one of the very few merchandise categories where Costco, Walmart and Target don't participate.

Expect the furniture business model to be burned to the ground within the next few years, at least in the U.S. and Canada.

It's a perfect place for Asia-Mexican cooperation: large scale leather, frame and cushioning manufacturing in China, with final assembly/customization in Mexico for fast truck dispatch to the 48 states and Canada. The discounters will have large inventories for immediate delivery, and custom stuff will be a week lead time, unless you insist on spending $10,000 for the remaining high end European names.
posted by MattD at 5:43 PM on March 4, 2007

I would highly recommend you look for a Natuzzi wholesaler in your area, or at least within shipping distance. I found a Natuzzi sofa I liked a lot, but got the same absurd delivery-lead-time estimate you did, and bagged the idea.

A few months later, I happened across an enormous Natuzzi wholesaler / dealer / warehouse in Atlanta -- 2 hours drive for me. They had the exact sofa I wanted in stock; we worked out a deal on shipping, and I had it 3 days later. I still have it -- it's the best piece of furniture I've ever owned.
posted by fearless_yakov at 8:14 PM on March 4, 2007

Thanks, fearless_yakov, that is great to hear. Good idea on the wholesaler, too. I'll check it out.
posted by ubu at 8:19 PM on March 4, 2007

I worked in Richmond VA at a furniture store and I sold Natuzzi furniture.

The lead time is normal. It's actually short. Ours was about six months because we ordered in bulk (waited for more orders to save on shipping) and the orders were sent by boat. A few times weather caused the ships to rock so much that some of the shipment would go overboard and the customer would have to wait another six months.

Our company was not permitted by Natuzzi to divulge pricing information on our website. Even for basic fabrics, leathers, etc.

We were permitted to advertise the styles offered, but Natuzzi's prices constantly changed.
posted by gummi at 9:05 PM on March 4, 2007

I got one from I think... Sofa Mart. It took about a week.

Perhaps they only offered a small selection of them that they kept in stock, I'm not sure. I only remember a few Natuzzis there.

Damn sofa seduced me in the showroom and I had to have it. I would have waited longer if I'd had to, but four months would have broken me.
posted by beth at 4:03 AM on March 5, 2007

Just to chime in on timing - we ordered this fairly straightforward sofa from Rowe and it took 12 weeks, so 16 or so for a nice Italian jobber seems right to me...
posted by jalexei at 10:39 AM on March 5, 2007

Natuzzi is a great company.
I will tell you why it takes 3-4 months to get it.
Natuzzi has a few places around the world where they produce their pieces. I can only tell you about the Italian operation, since we only deal with Italian made frames. It does usually take 5 weeks of production for any sofa to be made, Natuzzi or not. Natuzzi makes over 400 different styles, so when you order a sofa, it is made for you. They make the frame, cut the foam, etc. for that specific sofa.
After 5 weeks is all the delivery time. There are a few choices a retailer makes when selling Natuzzi.

Choice A: Get the piece as fast as possible. That means paying higher delivery charges and cutting profit margin. We always go with this option.

Choice B: Making a decent profit (yes, we like to make money too). This means that a retailer does not order just one piece, but rather waits for a week or two and then places an order. (make it 7 weeks production) Then the retailer fills up a container and ships 63 sofas together. Add whatever it takes to sell 63 sofas to 7 weeks and it just might take a year.

Typical delivery time from Italy to the US is 4 weeks, including customs crearing and "in-land" freight.

As far as finding information on-line, you're absolutely right. Retailers are limited to what they can and cannot tell you on-line. Prices are a "no-no", but we're trying to give as much information as we can on our website
posted by NSuvorov at 2:31 PM on March 31, 2007

« Older EmploymentFilter: Tired of rat race, how do I...   |   What's above the ceiling? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.