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Thomas Russell

Smaller pieces sell well in home office furniture

Sources continue to update functionality
 Sauder Rocket office group metal glassSauder’s Rocket office group is a hit with buyers. They like its smaller scale and its contemporary metal and glass footprint.

AT THE MARKET — In the home office arena, size obviously matters here.

And we're not talking 72-inch executive desks or massive modular wall units.

According to some top sources in the category, retailers are gravitating more toward much smaller desk footprints suitable for laptop use. Depending on the source, popular models use either a combination of veneers and solid woods, or are laminate or glass top versions that can be shipped in a flat pack format.

Coaster is having success with a number of new desks with metal frames and 36- to 40-inch glass top work surfaces. Retailing from $99 to $129, the desks have compact footprints and functional features such as pull-out laptop trays.

The company also reports strong interest and order writing on new desks with frosted or white glass work surfaces in L-shaped configurations. Also popular is a new $199-retail ready-to-assemble desk concept called ConnectIt, which has a flip top feature in the back revealing a power pack with electric sockets and network plugs.

"At these price points, it's instant gratification for the consumer," said Toby Konetzny, director of marketing.

RTA specialist Sauder Woodworking is seeing strong interest in its new August Hill, Shoal Creek and Edgewater desks, which feature 48-inch work surfaces and retail around $149. Popular companion pieces include the Edgewater Tech Center, a 40-inch-tall by 29-inch-wide work center with two doors and a shelf for a printer, which retails at $149.

Sauder's Rocket group is another popular home office series featuring one L-shaped glass top/metal frame desk retailing at $249 and a small desk with a mini-hutch that retails for $199.

RTA specialist Linon is having success with a group of clean-lined bookcases featuring solid-wood fronts with fluted details that hits retails of $99, $129 and $149.

Dealers also like Linon's new eight-piece solid pine Sheridan office group, which includes an L-shaped desk configuration with a corner unit as well as a companion bookcase, file cabinet and 46-inch desks. The desks retail at $129 to $199, while the bookcases and file cabinets retail for $139 and $149, respectively.

High-end case goods resource Sligh is receiving strong dealer interest in its smaller-scale executive desks, which feature 54- to 56-inch work surfaces, compared with the more typical 66- to 72-inch versions.

Other intros getting good responses include a 60-inch trestle desk and a 42-inch writing desk that retails for $599. Other writing desks in the line range from 56 to 72 inches.

Even some of Sligh's new modular units are smaller in scale, featuring a lower-profile hutch unit as well as sections with smaller work surfaces.

"People are downsizing and more and more people are working at home," said Bob Kreter, marketing and communications manager. "They may not have room to fit a 72-inch desk so they are looking for something smaller."

Other sources offering smaller desk footprints this market include Signature Home Furnishings and Chintaly Imports.

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