• Thomas Russell

UPDATE: Lexington Home Brands to acquire Sligh Furniture Company

Rob Sligh will stay and take on additional duties

HIGH POINT — Case goods and upholstery resource Lexington Home Brands has reached an agreement to acquire Sligh Furniture Company, a well-established source of home office and home entertainment furniture.

Officials did not disclose the sale price or other terms of the deal, which is expected to close in October, but confirmed that Rob Sligh will continue in his role as company president.

In addition to his role as president, Sligh will hold additional responsibilities that include senior vice president of business development at Lexington. He will be based out of Lexington's corporate center at 1300 National Highway in Thomasville. It was not immediately clear how many of Sligh's other employees will be asked to join the company.

Haney said that the addition of Sligh to Lexington's corporate team "will prove a tremendous asset."

Lexington also will retain the Sligh name, which has been known to the industry since its founding in 1880. As a freestanding brand, Sligh will join the company's other branded lines which include Lexington, Tommy Bahama Home and Henry Link Trading Company.

While Lexington offers both home office and home entertainment furniture as part of its whole home collections, officials said purchasing Sligh will strengthen its position in the category.

"Lexington has a strong position in the upper-middle price points," said Phil Haney, President and CEO of Lexington Home Brands in a statement. "We have earned consistent and significant market share gains in the face of a tough economy by delivering great product. While our lifestyle collections currently include a broad assortment of home office and home entertainment products, the addition of Sligh to our brand portfolio will position us to become a core vendor in these categories for our dealers."

Lexington officials said that the two lines offer products priced at complimentary upper middle price points. Sligh, for example, offers executive 72-inch desks that can retail at $2,999 and a broad range of modular office configurations and large-scale bookcase wall units that vary in price based on the number of pieces.

Sligh also has a mid-priced line called Loft 102 that offers smaller scale 54-and64-inch desks that retail from $849 to $1,149, respectively.

Sligh Furniture also has a line of upper middle priced home entertainment pieces, ranging from TV consoles to full scale wall units, while its Loft 102 line offers a mid priced range of home entertainment pieces including 55-inch and 70-inch TV consoles retailing at $1,080 and $1,380, respectively.

It was unclear whether Lexington will broaden Sligh's offering of bedroom and other case goods. Sligh has offered bedroom as part of its Loft 102 line, but the company remains known to dealers mostly as a home office and home entertainment resource.

Regardless of what the future holds for those categories, Rob Sligh, a fourth-generation company president, said he believes Lexington is the right corporate partner for Sligh. He added that the two companies share a host of business values ranging from product innovation to a strong emphasis on marketing and branding.

"With a family legacy that spans 131 years, and strong dealer relationships that have been the foundation of our success, it was important to me to identify the right partner as we begin an exciting new growth phase for our company," Sligh said in a statement. "The team at Lexington shares my core values, understanding the importance of product innovation, brand management, aggressive marketing and dealer relationships. They bring rock-solid financial resources, best-in-class operational support and the leverage of scale. In order to compete in a global environment and provide superior value for our retailers and consumers, it was in our best interest to partner with a proven industry leader. I couldn't be more pleased with this transaction, and look forward to joining the executive team at Lexington."

Haney said the partnership made sense from the start of their discussions.

"The strategic synergy of this acquisition became apparent to both Rob and me from our very first conversation," he said. "The benefits that will accrue to our dealers - in the form of product development, service and value - will be significant. This is one of those rare occasions in business where the alignment is ideal for both parties, and I couldn't be more excited about the opportunity before us."

Sligh product will be shipped from Lexington's North Carolina warehouse and distribution center. Sligh product development, marketing, customer service and credit functions will be managed from the Lexington corporate headquarters.

At the October High Point Market, Sligh will show its line on the second floor of Lexington's 100,000-square-foot showroom, also at 1300 National Highway.

Thomas RussellThomas Russell | Associate Editor, FurnitureToday

I'm Tom Russell and have worked at Furniture/Today since August 2003. Since then, I have covered the international side of the business from a logistics and sourcing standpoint. Since then, I also have visited several furniture trade shows and manufacturing plants in Asia, which has helped me gain perspective about the industry in that part of the world. As I continue covering the import side of the business, I look forward to building on that knowledge base through conversations with industry officials and future overseas plant tours. From time to time, I will file news and other industry perspectives online and, as always, welcome your response to these Web postings.

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