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Larry Thomas

Motion Vendors Sail with New Product

Lane’s home theaterLane’s home theater product rollout includes the Cache group, which features automotive-inspired scoop seating and sweeping curved arms.
LAS VEGAS - Home theater seating and power motion groups are taking center stage this week in motion upholstery showrooms as exhibitors try to get maximum mileage from products that are selling relatively well in spite of the industrywide sales slump.
     Exhibitors say demand for flat-panel televisions and related home entertainment items is continuing to drive interest in motion furniture, and they are encouraging retailers to use such furniture to get more customers through the door.
     The largest product rollout can be found at Lane - which has set up a 3,850-squarefoot "experience room" to show off its expanded line of home theater seating and entertainment furniture - but key motion resource Klaussner and comeback player Barcalounger also have major home theater introductions.
     "This is a massive launch of product - the largest we've had in some time," said Bo Morrison, director of freestanding recliners and home theater seating at Lane. "We're trying to show our dealers how they can use our upholstery and case goods to present a very compelling story."
     The centerpiece of rollout is more than a dozen new home theater groups that retail for $599 to $999 per seat. Morrison said the groups will be merchandised with Lane's entertainment centers, consoles and occasional pieces to allow dealers to obtain all their entertainment furniture from a single source.
     In addition, participating dealers will have access to point-of-purchase materials, fixtures and sales training.
     "It will be a turn-key package," Morrison said. "Many of the pieces already are in our warehouses and can be shipped immediately."
     Executives at Lane and other companies believe the best-selling entries will be seats with power reclining mechanisms, despite the additional $100 to $200 they add to the retail price tag.
     "We've had a lot of requests for it from our customers, so we're adding power motion to our warehouse program," said Mike Campbell, president of Leather Italia, a resource for stationary and motion seating.
     Campbell said his company's newest power motion groups feature sofas retailing for $699 to $1,599. Entry-level models have bonded leather covers, while all-leather covers are found on models with higher price points.
     Importer A.C. Pacific is also making its debut in power mechanisms by showing a pair of power motion seating groups, while Midwestern rival LaCrosse is expanding its leather motion offerings with several new seating groups and high-leg recliners with leather/vinyl covers.
     LaCrosse President Chris Podschun said the new recliners, targeted for retail price points around $699, are part of the largest product rollout in the company's history.
     "All of our leather motion is warehoused for quick-ship programs," Podschun said.
     Besides the expansion of its home theater program, Barcalounger is making its debut in fabric recliners with a five-model lineup added to its Casual Comforts collection. The new chairs feature hammock-style chaise seating and a rocker/recliner mechanism.
     High-end contemporary resource Planum is adding leather motion sectionals to its lineup at $6,999 to $8,999, while Mac Motion Chairs is introducing a collection of reclining chairs and matching ottomans with sleek contemporary styling. Most of the new chairs have mechanisms that swivel and recline.

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