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Thomas Russell

Martin Furniture exits master bedroom category

HIGH POINT - Four years after making a concentrated effort to penetrate the market for master bedroom through its purchase of Highland Designs, Martin Furniture has exited the category.
The company ceased the program earlier this year after deciding it wanted to focus on its core categories of home office and home entertainment.
Martin announced the acquisition of Highland Designs in January 2009 from its owner, Curt Christian, and renamed the business Curt Christian Design by Martin. It primarily used Christian's designs for the first few years but eventually expanded the line with other designers as well.
Over the years, the company had between six and eight inline groups, retailing at 1,299 to $1,699 for four-piece sets.
However, because the company was so well-known and respected for its home office and home entertainment line, including its Kathy Ireland licensed products, some customers never really warmed up to the bedroom, officials said.
"It was difficult for us to gain much traction," said Gil Martin, CEO. "There wasn't much momentum with what we sold."
Martin realized the company probably needed to exit the category after only one of its 10 new groups went into production after last April. At its peak, bedroom never represented more than 15% of sales, and only represented about 5% as of this January, he said.
"At many shows it represented 80% of new product and we didn't have enough (new) office and entertainment," Martin said.
He said this market, customers have responded positively to the change and that as a result, home office and home entertainment orders have been strong.
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