• Thomas Russell

Case goods sources branch out with intros

The Bohemian Black CrocThe Bohemian Black Croc 48-inch table is part of Hooker Furniture’s Melange collection. It has a curved apron and comes with these companion chairs upholstered in a silver fabric.
HIGH POINT - Case goods resources are expanding their product offerings this market with introductions that often stick to their core strengths.
     But companies are branching out too, with expansive new launches that could extend their reach among retailers at home and abroad, including licensed lines associated with iconic places, personalities and brands.
     Fine Furniture, for example, is entering the licensing realm with Biltmore for Your Home, an 80-piece collection that includes 60 wood pieces and about 20 pieces of upholstery. Inspired by the room settings and furnishings at the historic Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C., it has two main whole home collections and a third that includes mostly accent furniture.
     "This new furniture collection with Fine Furniture is unlike anything we've done before," said Tim Rosebrock, vice president and general manager of the Biltmore Home Products Division. "It's a notable program of exceptional designs that mix easily with furniture or may be combined to create entire rooms. This new partnership represents an opportunity to expand the reach of our brand to reach a larger segment of the American public."
     Other licensed lines this market include an expansion of the Mount Vernon collection at Durham Furniture. Its new Rustic Civility bedroom in solid maple has more casual design elements than its two existing Mount Vernon collections, including a casual distressed finish called Cinnamon.
     Habersham is expanding its own Biltmore licensed line with a new Vanderbilt king canopy bed, while HGTV Home is showing a new casual European- inspired collection called Caravan of Colors, which is made with mahogany solids and veneers and is available in two key finishes.
      Panama Jack Home's Millbrook offers cottage design elements and includes bedroom and casual dining pieces in two finishes, buttermilk and caramel. At Universal, the Paula Deen Home line is expanding with River House, a whole home collection also available in two finishes, a deep brown River Bank and a painted River Boat.
     Other companies have aggressive product launches within their core brands.
     That includes Hooker Furniture, which is showing a 60-piece European traditional bedroom and dining room collection called Corsica. In the better part of its pricing structure, the line has European traditional design elements and offers two key finishes, a lighter natural and a darker espresso.
     Hooker's other large launch is Palisade, a 40-piece transitional bedroom, dining room and accent collection made with highly figured walnut veneers. It also has several smaller bedroom and dining room collections that offer stylistic elements from rustic to European traditional.
     It also is adding bedroom and dining room to its Melange collection, which has been an accent furniture line. New products range from upholstered beds and canopy beds to poster and panel beds. Several dining table choices also are available.
     Schnadig's St. James Place is among the larger collections this market, with 44 SKUs of bedroom, dining room, occasional and upholstery. It has relaxed traditional design elements as seen in its mix of highly figured walnut veneers and Sable brown finish. The veneers are in pie-shaped sections on 60-inch round pedestal tables and 80-inch rectangular tables.
     "Dealers are looking for furniture groups that can cross over into more relaxed lifestyles while retaining some sense of formality," said Lenwood Rich, senior vice president of sales at Schnadig, adding that the collection's sleek lines offer a more "comfortable approach to elegance."
     The company also is showing East Lake, which has 11 pieces of Victorian-influenced bedroom, including two highly carved beds.
Magnussen Home’sMagnussen Home’s Whitley bedroom is a transitional lifestyle group in a light designer gray finish with chrome hardware

     Others are filling in voids in their lines with short bedroom or dining room groups.
     Klaussner's case goods introductions include a short collection and one new bedroom. Both are in the low to mid-priced part of its line.
     Park Row is a 20-piece transitional bedroom, dining room and occasional collection in elm veneers. It offers four-piece bedrooms at $1,699 and a five-piece casual dining set retailing at $899.
      Bayboro is a casual transitional style bedroom in acacia veneers in a light honey finish. A four-piece set retails at $1,499.
     "We are really looking to fill a couple of voids in the line and the other thing we are doing is filling in a half dozen of our bedroom collections with occasional," said Geoff Beaston, senior vice president of case goods at Klaussner.
     He noted that the pricing reflects what retailers are experiencing in today's economy.
     "I think as much as merchants want to believe everybody is seeing a move up, I still say when it comes to the buying decision at retail, the consumer is very cost conscious," Beaston said, noting that the company has introduced 17 new bedrooms over the past 18 months. "With that in mind, we are still being very aggressive about trying to fill out our starting price points. It's easy to go up in price, but we are very pressed to still perform with lower costs."
     Magnussen Home is sticking with mostly middle price points with 15 new bedrooms, most of which retail from $1,499 to $1,699 for four pieces. Among these, there are also two that go up to $1,899 and another two that retail from $1,999 to $2,499.
     The ones that make it into production will be available on mixed containers from Vietnam.
     "We are trying to continue to just round out our distribution model we have, which is the consolidation of groups in Vietnam," said Nathan Cressman, president. "Our big thrust is you can mix youth, master and our new casual dining program. It effectively allows us to make it easier for the dealer to buy."
     Bedroom manufacturer Vaughan-Bassett has three new bedrooms, including a group in a reclaimed look made with cherry veneers and featuring a large storage sleigh bed with plank details in the headboard and footboard. Queen beds start at $599 and go up to $899 for a queen version.
     Two other groups are in its starting price point, including one in pine and oak versions that offers queen beds starting at $599 for a sleigh bed and a storage beds at $799. The third is a casual contemporary group that includes an upholstered bed that retails at $599 and has three finish and three fabric options.
     Based on reaction at last month's Premarket, officials are optimistic.
     "Our expectations are pretty high," said Doug Bassett, president. "The mood at Premarket was as good as we have seen in two to three years, and some of our customers are doing very well. Others say their business is flat, but they remain optimistic because they see the same numbers we are with unemployment going down and the housing industry showing a good substantial uptick."

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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