• Thomas Russell

Smaller desks still popular

Sligh FurnitureThis is one of four new writing desks Sligh Furniture is showing here. It has a Mandarin red finish, brushed brass legs and polished brass hardware.

AT THE MARKET - Small desk footprints continue to take center stage as home office vendors aim to keep the category vibrant, even as some retailers continue to scale back floor space for the products.
While they don't take up much room, the smaller desks offer functional attributes including pullout keyboard work surfaces and charging stations. They also have stylish transitional and contemporary looks that make them a focal point among other home office pieces on the sales floor.
Sligh Furniture reports strong dealer interest in four new writing desks with 58- to 64-inch work surfaces that are targeted to retail from $1,929 to $3,229. These include a transitional model in rosewood veneers and a curved stainless steel base, featuring an inset leather top and stainless steel inlay. Another model inspired by a Cartier jewelry box has a Mandarin red finish, brushed brass legs and polished brass hardware.
Office Star Products is showing six writing desks in its new Inspired by Bassett collection. Dealers like the clean-lined looks of the desks, which also incorporate traditional design elements.
Retailing from $299 to $799, the ready-to-assemble desks offer a good, better, best story within the Office Star line and also open some new channels of distribution for the Bassett name. The line also includes desk chairs retailing from $199 to $299 as well as a 62-inch executive style desk, file cabinets and bookcase units.
Whalen Furniture reports that it's doing well with new office chairs that offer lumbar support and an adjustable headrest. Retailing at $199, they also have lift-up arms.
The company also is seeing strong dealer response to a new merchandising concept that showcases its $199 Zeta desk alongside a chair, an open bookcase unit and a file cabinet. Dealers like the mixed media elements of the pieces - including wood, metal frames and smoked glass tops and shelves - as well as the contemporary styling.
They also like the way it is displayed, which gives them ideas on how to position the product in their stores, said David Wiese, Whalen's vice president of sales and marketing.
"The package is the story, and customers can mix it out of the warehouse," he said.
Larger footprints also are doing well at resources such as Sunny Designs, which is showing its modular library wall unit in a new merlot finish. In addition to the darker, more formal look of the set, dealers also like features such as touch lighting and the ability to interchange a TV console in the center with either a fireplace or desk unit.

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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