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Kingsdown mattresses to be sold in China

MEBANE, N.C. — Top 10 bedding producer Kingsdown, aiming to continue its international expansion, has partnered with Airland, a family owned Chinese bedding producer and retailer, to introduce Kingsdown mattresses in China.

Kingsdown's entrance into China with Hong Kong-based Airland will bring the company's My Side and bedMatch sleep diagnostic technology to 35 stores in the first year and is targeted to major markets across the country. The first products will be placed on retail floors by late October, the company said.

Airland is securing mixed retail locations including furniture and fashion malls, strip malls and freestanding shops. Additionally, Airland will participate in joint product development with Kingsdown, with all products tested and certified by Kingsdown's Sleep to Live Institute.

"This entry into China is very exciting for us, and we are confident that we found the right partner," said Kingsdown President and CEO Frank Hood. "Airland understands the My Side product and the value of the Sleep to Live Institute's scientific research, which sets us apart from the competition. With its large emerging middle class and the demand for American-designed product, we are entering China at the optimal time and we expect accelerated growth in this market."

Kingsdown also signed a licensing deal in the Middle East with Symbol Mattress Industries LLC. Seven stores offering both My Side and bedMatch opened in July in the United Arab Emirates and Oman. Symbol and Kingsdown will evaluate which shops, currently offering a variety of retail environments, are most successful before opening additional locations.

Moving further into the Persian Gulf region, Symbol plans a future expansion into other countries in the area, including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Renewing a successful licensing agreement in Malaysia that originated in 2010, Kingsdown continues its relationship with Sweet Dreams, which will have 45 stores featuring My Side and bedMatch products by the end of the year. Sweet Dreams served as the company's first Sleep to Live licensee and has proven to be a strong partner for the company as it worked to introduce an American brand into South East Asia, officials said.

"Through our relationship with Sweet Dreams, we learned that retailers overseas really appreciate having a Kingsdown team on the ground to help with sourcing, marketing, customer service and beyond," said Lee Hinshaw, Kingsdown's senior vice president of global brand management. "We are as involved as our partner wants and needs us to be and that's in sharp contrast to many other companies. As we work to expand our global distribution we understand that each and every relationship needs to truly be a joint effort, and we have the resources to make that happen."

The Sleep to Live Institute's signature product, MySide, caters to couples and features two individual sleep zones in one mattress. The dual zones can be foam, gel or latex and are recommended through the bedMatch diagnostic system.

Kingsdown's products are sold in more than 20 countries. The company has international offices in Bangkok and Tokyo.

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