Youth furniture vendors pleased by Las Vegas Market activity

Buyers responded to values, fresh designs

Lisa Casinger, February 13, 2009

LAS VEGAS — Most youth furniture vendors here were pleasantly surprised at last week's market, not only at the positive vibes from retailers but also with orders.

Geoff Jackson, president of Bolton Furniture, said the company did well with Café Loft, a system with a twin bed on top and a twin on bottom that converts to a table and benches, reminiscent of a camper.

Youth represents about 25% of Coaster's business. Toby Konetzny ,director of marketing, said while the company's showroom attendance was down 15%, sale were up.

Powell brought several new youth groups to market, including Rock N Roll and Lindsay, but its ongoing top sellers remain Z Bedroom, Shiver Me Timbers and Monster.

Sean Slack, executive vice president of merchandising and marketing for Powell, said the company's youth business was up 33% in 2008 and January 2009 was up 27% from a year earlier. Powell rolled out its youth gallery program last year and has 19 retailers signed up for the program, with five up and running.

Domestic manufacturers including Khoury, Trendwood, John Boyd Designs and Trend Manor said they've seen an increase in business as youth furniture buyers look for U.S.-made product in an effort to escape the worry over the latest CPSC regulations on lead and phthalates.

Khoury CEO Daniel Khoury said his company "meets and exceeds any standard out there." Khoury debuted cribs this market, and Khoury attributes their up swing in business this market over the last Vegas winter market to the fact that they're "green and domestically produced."

John Boyd Designs' national sales manager, Tom Carscaden, said that the company did a lot of youth introductions in 2008 so they didn't bring any new youth to this market. Despite that they're finally seeing retailers "coming back looking for the made in the U.S.A." product and youth, which represents about 50% of their business, is still growing and doing well.

Overall, though attendance was down this market, the buyers looking for youth came ready to write orders and were met with good values and some innovative designs.

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