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David Perry

Innovation a key focus for bedding majors

LAS VEGAS - Top 15 bedding producers say they will be using new products, programs and promotions to drive business this year.
The producers, responding to a question posed by Furniture/Today, revealed their growth plans for 2013. They sounded optimistic notes about their business prospects, with many saying new products will be critical to their success.
"What will your company do to spark business this year?" was the question posed to the producers. Here are their answers: 

Bob Sherman, president, Serta: "Serta will continue to be aggressive in helping our retailers grow their business with both current and new products, robust national marketing events and new retail ideas."

Jodi Allen, chief marketing officer, Sealy: "Our main priority for 2013 is our flagship brand, Sealy Posturepedic. We will launch a completely refreshed line, which will be supported by national consumer advertising and an integrated in-store program.
"We'll also continue to be focused on capturing 20% of the specialty bedding business. We made a tremendous start when we launched Optimum by Sealy Posturepedic last spring, and we plan to continue that momentum in the new year.
"Finally, we remain committed to innovation in creating the foundation for future launches. We have the strongest pipeline of innovation we've ever had, which includes breakthrough technologies that may be even licensed or acquired. We also continue to get new innovations to market faster as evidenced by the latest Stearns & Foster platform, which launched six months ahead of schedule and continues to break sales records."

Gary Fazio, CEO, Simmons: "We are laser-focused on two key areas in the new year. The first is around innovation and product design; we are developing products based on in-depth consumer insights, and we are using the most innovative technologies available. The recent launch of our new ComforPedic line is a prime example of this work, and it has been extremely well received among our retailers and consumers. Second, consumers are placing a greater priority on sleeping well for their health and well being, as well as their ability to perform optimally in their day-to-day lives, so we will continue to invest in our Recharge marketing campaign. In addition to building the Beautyrest brand through Recharge, we will roll out engaging consumer promotions that will drive traffic to our retailers and sales for Beautyrest."

Rick Anderson, president, Tempur-Pedic North America: "Tempur-Pedic is very optimistic about our sales potential in 2013. Our new Breeze and Weightless products have been enthusiastically accepted by our retailers and the retail sales associates are really enjoying selling these proprietary, highly innovative and technically advanced products. These new mattresses will once again expand the market for Tempur-Pedic and, even more importantly, offer our retailers a path to increasing average selling prices. We won't stop there. Our new ERGO Premier Adjustable base (available in early 2013) will bring added functionality, design and consumer appeal at higher average selling prices. In total, Tempur-Pedic's innovation and technology pipeline promises to deliver even more premium priced products in 2013, accelerating growth and profitability for those who embrace them."

Dave Roberts, president, Comfort Solutions: "We intend to be at the forefront of innovation. We have been working very diligently over the last 18 to 24 months on a variety of new products that we intend on introducing in 2013. In addition, we have steeped our game in ‘thinking retail.' We will have compelling new displays as well as more effective national promotions that will help drive our retail partners' business."

Gerry Borreggine, CEO, Therapedic: "We will bring to market new products that will continue to showcase aggressive values for dealers to present to their customers."

Kevin Toman, president, Englander: "In Las Vegas we will introduce three new national line collections. Our Anniversary collection will give great value at a $499 starting price point. The introduction of our LifeStyle collection will create a tremendous set of hybrid bedding with gel/latex and two-inch encased coils over memory foam, giving the consumer great comfort and value starting at $1,299 retail. The new Tension Ease collection will give us gel and encased coils to complete these introductions with price points starting at $699. We will be introducing strong POP and display boutiques to help the retailer sell through to the consumer."

Frank Hood, CEO, Kingsdown: "Our focus is on dynamic product innovation and the continued build out of our specialty products lines. We have some exciting introductions slated for January - some things that our industry has never seen before."Specialty is where the market momentum is and we have made a larger research and development investment in new and enhanced products. This gives our retailers products that are more distinctive and with better margins. But we are not forgetting about innersprings. While our mid-range product line is fairly mature, we are introducing some really exciting higher-end mattresses and also some very aggressive product at value price points. Lastly, we have a large export business and we see more opportunities for growth in that channel." 

Ron Passaglia, president, Restonic: "Restonic will be celebrating its 75th year anniversary. In order to celebrate this event we will have an entire new Comfort Care product line, new Comfort Care Signature offerings, special hybrid quilted and non-quilted product models, a new Restonic TempaGel upper end model, and finally a special edition Anniversary product set. In addition, we will have strong retail promotional programs supported with a special mailer, TV, and POP support system. We expect to add to our growth and momentum experienced in 2012." 

Rick Robinson, president, Spring Air: "Our plan is to narrow assortments and to focus ourselves on increasing the amount of marketing and promotional support for our flagship Back Supporter line."

Mike McQuiston, vice president, Symbol Mattress: "We are introducing new exciting designs and features at value price points, expanding our specialty foam and hybrid beds, and driving better brand recognition. Our goal is to ‘Keep It Symbol!'"

Earl Kluft, CEO, E.S. Kluft & Co.: "Our focus continues to be on the Top 100 accounts. These are strong dealers with good training and support for their retail sales associates - a great environment where the E.S. Kluft and Aireloom brands do very well. We have also leveraged our patented open chamber streamline design on our mattresses to bring some pricing down as low as $1,999. Luxury ‘loss leaders,' if you will. It's a departure for us, but some of our best dealers have asked for a lower price point and on the initial introduction; these models are selling very well and actually helping to drive sales to our more expensive models. What they tell us is that Tempur-Pedic knockoffs have taken the over $3,000 customer into the teens, and that there are no pillowtops or euro tops above the $1,599 to $1,799 threshold with any perceived value. Our $1,999 model, with patented features and a true luxury story, is a significant upgrade and step up over what is available at those price points."

Steve Russo, CEO, Southerland: "Southerland is launching several new product programs that should provide additional ‘sparks' to our growing business."

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