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Wood sources stress function, style at High Point Market

HIGH POINT - Tepid sales of late have caused wood furniture suppliers to think outside the box at this High Point Market not just with exciting new beds and dining tables, but with highly functional and stylish case pieces that hold interest for retailers and consumers.
The efforts have driven traffic and order writing in showrooms here this week, a factor many hope will boost business for them and their customers in the coming months.
The pieces, ranging from consoles and buffets with adjustable shelves and hidden leaf storage, to fireplace consoles for the bedroom, could give retail salespeople something to talk about on their floors. That, in turn, could spur sales of beds, dining tables and other key wood pieces that have had lackluster performance in recent months, sources say.
Legends Furniture is seeing dealer interest in its new electric fireplace consoles, which it is adding to every bedroom in the line, replacing former media chests. Retailing in the $699 to $799 range, these offer an electric fireplace unit that doubles as a space heater and has door storage and a place for components. Dealers like the functionality and the range of looks of the pieces, which tie in with seven bedroom groups.
Sunny Designs is adding interest to its bedroom category with new pieces such as a bed with a bookcase storage headboard and deep drawer storage on either side of the bed. Retailing at $1,499, the storage bed even has a center door on the footboard that opens to more storage for items like skis and ironing boards.
The company also is doing well with a wardrobe added to its rustic Farm House collection. Retailing at $999, it has a sliding mirrored door that conceals three shelves and five drawers. The response has been so positive, the company is adding this unit to each new bedroom, said West Allen, vice president of merchandising.
Universal Furniture is seeing strong response on unusual pieces in the bedroom and dining categories in its new Paula Deen Home collection, River House. Signature items in the collection add function to a room. Among the most popular are a kitchen island with a slide-out work surface and a family organizer with hutch unit that can be used in the kitchen or family room. Retailing at $1,499, dealers like its functional slide-out shelf, cork board and drawer storage.
"This creates an environment for the product to sell and separates us from everybody else," said Sean O'Connor, vice president of sales for the East Coast.
Other licensed collections doing well this market include the new Biltmore for Your Home Collection at Fine Furniture Design, the new Mount Vernon bedroom collection at Durham Furniture and the new Tommy Bahama Home collection, Amandari at Lexington Home Brands.
Dealers like the Amandari collection for its use of mixed media elements ranging from mahogany veneers on dining table tops and case pieces to the woven raffia inset panels with nail head accents on drawer fronts and panels of a sleigh bed in the collection, Lexington reports.
"It can be taken to a sophisticated elegant look or a sophisticated casual look," said Jim Burke, senior vice president of sales.
Designer collections also are doing well this market, including the new Celerie Kemble line at Henredon and new pieces in the Candice Olson line at Highland House. Among the most popular new pieces in Candice Olson are the Luminaire console, which can be used as a buffet or hall chest, and the Kamala hand-painted console, which can double as a buffet or dresser and retails at $2,400. Dealers like its paisley motif as well as the storage capabilities of the piece.
Highland House President Parker Goss said the design and functionality are helping the line to be a big success.
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