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Thomas Russell

Aggressive intros attract case goods buyers

The Cavallino panelThe Cavallino panel bed is part of Lexington Home Brands’ new Florentino collection. Made with rustic cherry and Brazilian walnut veneers, it has a dark walnut finish called Portofino.
LAS VEGAS - A number of case goods suppliers came to market last week with aggressive introductions aimed at boosting business in the bedroom and formal dining room categories in 2013.
     Based on reaction from dealers, business could pick up sooner than they expect thanks to the positive response to new finishes, functionality and even higher pricing that could raise some dealers' average tickets.
     Riverside Furniture had its largest Las Vegas Market introduction ever, said Fred Henjes, president and CEO. In addition to three new collections that include mixes of either bedroom or dining room and occasional and several other new occasional sets for a total of seven first-time-seen groups. The company usually introduces one collection at market, but wanted to make a statement that it is serious about launching new product here.
     Riverside reported good response to the introductions based in large part on the diversity of styles, ranging from the upscale metro look of Park Row to the cottage influences of Beacon Point¸ which was shown in a black finish. Beacon Point offers four-piece bedrooms targeted to retail at $1,999, while a table and four chairs in Park Row retails at $1,099.
     A.R.T. Furniture turned heads with its whole home Classics collection, which features a multi-step finish on flat-cut prima vera veneers. Called Brindle, the color resembles the brownish coat of a greyhound.
     In addition to the finish, dealers liked how the collection updates traditional forms with clean modern lines.
     Featuring four-piece bedrooms at $2,999 and a table and six chairs retailing at $2,299, the collection falls in the middle of A.R.T.'s line. Meanwhile, its Valencia collection, launched here with three dining tables, is at the top, with a trestle table and six chairs targeted to retail at $4,999.
     Emerald Home Furnishings scored with its new Interludes bedroom and occasional collection, which updates traditional forms with contemporary elements including metal accents on headboards, mirrors and table stretchers. Dealers also like the mink finish, with a depth and clarity that highlights the walnut veneers.
     "This got a good reaction," said John Iasiello, vice president of wood products, noting that the company plans to add dining room to the collection in High Point. "It hit the middle of the market price point, and dealers see the value in it."
      Emerald also did well with its Brighton casual dining collection, which has a two tone cashew brown and dove gray finish on table and chair sets, buffets and a curio china cabinet.
      In an effort to grab market share, Leggett & Platt extended its reach into bedroom.
     In addition to 12 new metal beds priced from $399 to $599, it launched four new domestically produced upholstered headboards that retail from $299 to $399 and four fully upholstered beds, including two imported by cast leather versions retailing at $599 and two domestic fabric versions retailing from $699 to $799.
      The company launched the fully upholstered versions in response to the success of its headboards, and dealer reaction was strong, said Ron Ainsworth, vice president of product development and procurement.
      "It hit the mark with both sleep shops and traditional retailers as well," he said. "It just has a high perceived value. It's a piece of furniture. That's the way buyers are looking at it. You can put it with a case goods group and it will work."
Many vendors reported steady traffic.
      "It has been a very strong market - it is good to see it coming back," said Steve York, vice president of residential product development at case goods and upholstery manufacturer Fairmont Designs.
      He said the company was more aggressive with its introductions, with double its usual first time product at the show. He said the company previously focused mostly on upholstery at Las Vegas and wood intros at High Point, but showed more wood in Vegas this time including occasional and bedroom.
     "We want to make sure all the buyers have a reason to come into Fairmont," York said. "It helps the entire company and our customers to keep fresh products at all times."

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