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David Perry

ISPA: Specialty sleep leads September sales gains

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Innerspring mattress unit shipments declined in September, but the bedding industry still managed to record a 1.9% gain in unit shipments that month because of a gain in specialty sleep.
     The dollar value of shipments increased 5.6% in September, again led by specialty sleep.
     The figures from the latest Bedding Barometer report issued by the International Sleep Products Assn. reflect the performance of 18 large bedding producers accounting for a majority of the industry's volume.
     The sample shows that for the first nine months of the year, units are up 8.3% while the wholesale dollar value of shipments is up 13.7%. The average unit price increased 5% through September, to $215.31.
     As it does each quarter, ISPA broke out the performance of the innerspring and non-innerspring (specialty) segments. Innerspring mattress unit sales dipped 1.8% in September, the first such decline in the third quarter. Specialty mattress units, on the other hand, were up 23.9% that month.
     The dollar value of innerspring mattress shipments was up 3.4% in September, while it increased 15.3% for specialty mattress shipments.
     For the first nine months of the year, innerspring mattress units are up 4.2%, with specialty mattress units up 32.2%. The dollar value of innerspring shipments is up 9.6% through September, while it is up 29% for specialty mattress shipments.
     The ISPA figures reveal that the average unit price for specialty mattresses declined each month in the third quarter, compared with the same month a year earlier. It was down 3.3% in July to $720.64, was down 1.9% in August to $791.86, and was down 7% in September to $782.99. Factors that could lead to those declines include price reductions in the category, fewer sales of higher-priced models, and increasing sales of lower-priced models, bedding observers said.
     The average unit price of innerspring mattresses posted increases in each month in the third quarter. It was up 1.3% in July to $252.04, 4.3% in August to $241.69, and 5.3% in September to $263.28.
     But innerspring mattress unit sales trended down. They were up 13.4% in July compared with July 2011, up 4.1% in August, and down 1.8% in September. In contrast, specialty mattress units were up each month - by 28.5% in July, 12.8% in August and 23.9% in September, ISPA said.
     The ISPA sample reflects the performance of producers that last year generated 66% of the industry's total unit volume and about 76% of the total wholesale dollar volume. But ISPA cautions that the figures "may not necessarily reflect the performance of the full mattress industry."

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