Wood sources eye scale, service at Las Vegas Market
Heath E. Combs -- Furniture Today, July 30, 2013
LAS VEGAS - Early in the week, case goods suppliers say that the economic crystal ball is still a little cloudy at the Las Vegas Market.
Many report that business conditions remain okay - not great - and hope that better economic indicators point to a more solid second half, thus ending the ongoing roller coaster of the last few years.
This week, they are attempting to set their own economic path straight by addressing scale and service, two of the big stories for case goods suppliers showing here.
With its Tower Place introduction of 26 case goods items in the soft contemporary style getting good early looks, Phil Haney, president and CEO of Lexington Home Brands said this week's market should be stronger than the typical summer market.
While Las Vegas is stronger in the winter, Haney said this week's the appointment list is significantly higher than the typical summer market. Macro-economic factors say business should be better in the second-half - but it's been hard to make any solid predictions in these last few years, he said.
"The middle summer is having good order rates," Haney said. "I'm bullish on the fall. I think we're going to have a good finish."
He's also bullish on outdoor since Tommy Bahama is a brand that resonates with consumers. Lexington was one of the early entrants into the growing indoor/outdoor supplier trend. This week's market will allow Lexington to get a good jump with retailers on the Florida selling season that starts heating up in October.
Michael Ashton Designs - which debuted in High Point earlier this year - is having a good week thus far beginning with good traffic on Sunday, according to Michael Anderson, national sales manager. The company is boosting its West Coast sales presence here, but wasn't anticipating a large number of East Coast dealers, Anderson said.
The strength in its line is solid wood, four-piece bedrooms that retail from $1,999 to $2,999. The company is showing 11 of its 12 total groups here and has warehouses in Ontario, Calif.; Lakewood, Wash.; High Point, N.C. and Plymouth, Mass.
This Highland Park buffet has several of the signature design touches to Lexington Home Furnishings’ Tower Place collection. That includes a step front, rose gold trim and gold feet. It also features drawer storage behind the central front door.
Among groups it's getting good feedback on are Lancaster County in poplar with cherry finish, and its Ashland in ash solids. The company plans to enter the casual dining category at the fall High Point Market.
At AICO scale is key, according to Chuck Reilly, senior vice president of sales and marketing. Reilly said the company is targeting specific retailers who want smaller scaled items suited to tighter living quarters, a void in its line.
But while smaller, AICO isn't sacrificing any of its signature design touches. Introductions mimic elements of successful groups such as Hollywood Swank. The company has three bedroom and formal dining groups in its scaled down category here. It's is also working in new woods like ash and is targeting some casual beach looks.
"We're not taking out any quality. Scale is important," Reilly said. "People want a major bed but they don't have the room to make everything else big."
Emerald Home Furnishings continues to refocus its bedroom program. Dealers have been receptive to the consolidation of vendor factories from nine to three at the company and the resulting good, better, best story, according to John Iasiello, vice president of wood products.
Another big part of bedroom that's getting good response is offering a consistent message. That includes: better scaling and finishes, English dovetail construction, metal ball bearing guides full-extension guides and cedar drawer bottoms, Iasiello said.
The company isn't looking to offer "me too" product, but wants its designs to be unique and thus have a longer life cycle, Iasiello said. Right now, he added, what's winning dealers is service and delivery.
Standard continues to have success with heavyweight 20-millimeter vinyl applications like faux oxidized copper and brushed stainless steel tops on dressers. Modern asymmetrical design elements are doing well, said Debbie Dilbeck, sales and merchandising executive assistant.
The company is also growing its dry matte gray-brown paper offerings - bringing a good bit of style to promotional price points, Dilbeck said. At retail, the St. Regis group with a reinterpreted Empire style and cleaner profile is doing well. Craftsman-inspired looks also continue to be popular, she said.
Tim Ussery, executive vice president sales at Standard, said recent retail expansions bode well for suppliers. What's also exciting, he said, is the quality of retailers that are expanding.
"In 2008 and 2009 there were holes left. We knew they would get filled and they're coming back with retailers who know how to open a store," Ussery said. "Our growth has been coinciding with retail, and we're trying to stay committed to our growth plans."
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