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Thomas Russell

Lexington to offer Tommy Bahama outdoor line

HIGH POINT — Case goods and upholstery resource Lexington Home Brands has reached an agreement with Tommy Bahama to offer a line of outdoor furniture.

The company said that it intends to roll out new products sometime in 2012 and will also carry some existing outdoor product Tommy Bahama has developed in the past.

The products will be distributed from Lexington's North Carolina distribution facility, and other aspects of the business will be managed from its corporate headquarters in Thomasville.

Lexington has offered the indoor residential Tommy Bahama line since 2000. It has six whole home Tommy Bahama collections and number of those are among Lexington's bestselling groups.

"Tommy Bahama is the number one brand in a style category that has experienced exceptional growth despite the economic downturn," said Phil Haney, President and CEO of Lexington Home Brands, in a statement. "The brand is iconic, with designs and a lifestyle message that have proven highly effective in attracting the aspirational consumer. Tommy Bahama Outdoor is a natural extension for Lexington. We have a keen understanding of the brand, and will leverage our design and marketing expertise in energizing the product line through the current outdoor distribution channels."

Tommy Bahama officials, who have worked with several other manufacturers on the outdoor line in recent years, were equally pleased to have Lexington as its new outdoor furniture partner.

"Given the phenomenal success that Lexington Home Brands has demonstrated in their lifestyle designs for indoor product, the decision to expand our relationship to include the rapidly growing outdoor category was one that felt very appropriate," said Chrisann Furciato, vice president of licensing for Tommy Bahama, in a statement. "When it comes to interpreting the relaxed sophisticated style of Tommy Bahama in the home, Lexington totally gets it."

Bill Echols, a former executive with outdoor resource Brown Jordan, will serve both in a consulting role to Lexington and as director of sales for Tommy Bahama Outdoor. In that role, he reports to Jim Burke, Lexington vice president of sales.

Current Tommy Bahama Outdoor sales representatives will continue to sell the line, but Lexington plans to hire designers who specialize in outdoor furniture.

Lexington said the timing of the partnership is right given the demand for outdoor furniture. Citing a January 2011 report by Global Industry Analysts, it said the U.S. market for outdoor furniture will be $4.4 billion by 2015.

While Lexington is expected to showcase the product at its Las Vegas High Point area showrooms, the move also effectively will allow it to have a new presence at the International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market in Chicago, the primary market for outdoor furniture.

In a statement, Haney said Tommy Bahama Outdoor and Lexington's recently completed deal to acquire home office and entertainment resource Sligh Furniture are natural extensions of the company's core business, "while affording us the opportunity to leverage our scale and resources on the operational side."

He also is optimistic about the potential for the outdoor line based on the success of the Tommy Bahama indoor line at retail.

"The Tommy Bahama brand continues to gain market share - maintaining its competitive advantage through great design and focused brand marketing," he said. "With ninety-seven Tommy Bahama retail stores, thirteen Tommy Bahama Restaurant locations, and a strong online presence at tommybahama.com, they are highly effective at articulating their lifestyle message to aspirational consumers who are eager to embrace it. We are delighted to further expand our relationship with the management team at Tommy Bahama, and look forward to taking the business outdoors."

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