Upholstery producers up their game in Las Vegas
Larry Thomas -- Furniture Today, July 29, 2013
LAS VEGAS - Bringing new excitement to Sin City is a formidable task, but upholstery manufacturers showing at the Las Vegas Market are getting creative to meet the challenge.
From imaginative fabric combinations to distinctive frames, upholstery manufacturers have upped their game in a city that loves gamblers.
"The only reason buyers come to market is to see exceptional presentations of new product," said Phil Haney, president of Lexington Home Brands. "In Las Vegas, we invested in doubling the size of our showroom to 50,000 square feet in order to accommodate introductions across our portfolio of brands, including our newest brand addition, Tommy Bahama Outdoor Living, which has its own dedicated showroom."
He said the company is introducing five new collections in four brands - Lexington, Sligh, Tommy Bahama Home and Tommy Bahama Outdoor.
Tower Place in the Lexington brand includes 19 upholstery SKUs. It will begin shipping to retailers in late September. Lexington representatives said the additional products new to the Las Vegas Market include Tommy Bahama Outdoor collections, Aviano and Blue Olive, and the Tommy Bahama Home Landara and Sligh Bal Harbour collections.
LaCrosse Furniture is offering a way for retailers to add excitement to their floors with the Trilogy collection. Priced from $499 to $1,199, the Trilogy introductions are offered along with creative solutions for retail display.
"We are introducing four major programs, including the Trilogy collection," said LaCrosse's Chris Podschun. "It has sleeper sofas in three sizes - queen, full and twin - and eight styles, all available with a Kingsdown mattress.
"The Top 100 is really beginning to adopt this category again and they want to maximize their square footage. This can be displayed on a platform," he said. "It screams ‘We have style; we have color,' and it helps the retailers, who are always looking for ways to make new money."
United Furniture is introducing six stationary groups, one Beautyrest group, one motion group and four recliners. Prices for the stationary groups range from $399 to $699 retail.
"Most of our product introductions for Vegas are geared toward our stationary product category," said Greg Morgan, the director of merchandising for United. "The stationary product ranges from a great, small-scale sectional to more promotional sofa collections."
HomeDeco is creating showroom excitement by scaling down. Company representative Patrick Hutmacher said that the new introductions were designed with a specific consumer in mind.
"HomeDeco Furniture is focusing on the urban market with 75-80% new styles and colors, scaled for more compact living spaces," said Hutmacher. "Features of the introductions include multi-use chairs and sofas, pocket coil seating, creative engineering and packaging for drop shipping if needed and trend-right colors and patterns with arm style options.
"Our new Urban Classic group consists of value-priced upholstered chairs, loveseats and sofas that can be sold in volume via retail or e-tail," he said. "Contemporary and transitional frames dominate the collection, with coordinated textures and prints that work well in eclectic decorating themes. We have 16 sizes and styles available in more than 100 colors, and retail price range is targeted at $199 to $449."
Marshfield Furniture is introducing upholstery pieces that can be incorporated into a variety of settings. The Doris Curve sofa highlights a conversational style frame and has customizable options including two-sided, loose-back cushions. The Francis armless chair showcases a contemporary silhouette that can be used in an urban setting, and the Tanner sofa chair is described by Marshfield President William Mork as "a transitional twist on country." Prices start at $999.
"It's all about evolution and knowing our customers," Mork said. "The extension of new transitional and lodge designs expands our ability to continue to offer numerous lifestyle options. Offering our retailers custom design options helps them keep their presentations fresh and differentiates them from their competition.
"We focus on what we do well," added Mork. "Our transitional base continues to grow with our Simply Yours and Essentially Yours collections. We have increased the offerings in each of these collections, and Lodge continues as an area we pioneered. It has now grown to include Western, South Western, Urban Lodge and Mountain Lodge."
Custom upholstery programs are almost mandatory with buyers and consumers alike in the current retail environment, and HGTV Home is continuing to build excitement in the showroom with a rainbow of upholstery offerings. Price points start at $999.
"We're showing 17 new SKUs, a studio sofa, a two-cushion and three-cushion sofa, a loveseat, a chair, a queen sleeper with the choice of two or three cushions, a full sleeper, an ottoman, storage ottoman and seven sectional SKUs," said Matt Johnson, vice president of sales and merchandising. "This allows HGTV Home to offer a made-in-America story with a 30-day delivery on a custom program that includes more than 50 body fabrics and 80 accent fabrics."
"We are very excited about our showroom this year because we have a lot of new product that we are introducing, including the pastel chairs and the England tufted chairs," said Homaira Shifa, marketing coordinator for Abbyson Living. "We are also very excited to introduce new outdoor patio furniture. We have opened new quality control offices around the world, and it's a very exciting time for us. It will all show at the market."
For some suppliers, the Las Vegas Market provides an opportunity to show exciting High Point introductions to West Coast retailers for the first time. Two of the manufacturers that have always shown in Las Vegas have added High Point to the market schedule, and the companies' presidents say they plan to maximize the strengths of each market.
"We always do Sunday Specials in Las Vegas," Podschun of LaCrosse Furniture said. "We open from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. and we bill it as a ‘come in and pay for your trip' event. The buyers save a lot of money, so they come in on Sunday for special purchases and closeouts and then come back on Monday for regular market visits.
"At High Point, a lot of people make notes and you see a lot of the Top 100 buyers," he said. "In Las Vegas, many of the second 100 top dealers and smaller stores come in and buy and set their programs for the next four to six months."
Marshfield is planning to expand into High Point this fall. Mork said that he feels it is important to have a presence at both markets.
"We perceive opportunity to connect with retailers in the eastern portion of the United States, as well as to further our expansion in the Midwest," said Mork. "Retailers who attend one market per year are faced with a choice between Las Vegas and High Point. We want to be at the market they attend. The retailers who attend two markets per year will likely attend Las Vegas and High Point. We will be showing different products at each market, and we expect to see new customers as we expand into the High Point Market."
This sectional from HGTV Home is part of a custom upholstery program that includes more than 50 body fabrics and 80 accent fabrics.
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