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Bedding traffic light but intros make their mark

Paramount executivesParamount executives Richard Diamonstein, left, Richard Fleck, Arthur Diamonstein and Jamie Diamonstein display a layer of Pure Gel on a new latex and gel bedding line.
HIGH POINT - Traffic was generally light in bedding showrooms at the High Point Market, but retailers found some products that can help them boost sales this spring, producers reported.
     There were a few standout new bedding lines introduced here, including three new brands launched by Paramount Sleep, a flowery value-priced line offered by Jamison, and a promotional bedding line introduced by Gold Bond, among others. But most of the mattress lines shown here made their debuts earlier this year at the bedding- rich Las Vegas Market.
     Producers said retailers believe the industry can snap out of a sales slowdown in the months to come, and said key mattress-selling holidays, including Memorial Day and July 4th, should bring a welcome burst of business.
Market reports were mixed, with some bedding producers reporting excellent results while others described the market as lackluster.
     Five Star Mattress, which cut prices earlier this year, has had a "phenomenal" response to that action, said Paul Sullivan, vice president. Traffic in High Point was up 46%, he said, and new account openings jumped 133%.
     "This was our best
Mark AkermanMark Akerman of Enso Sleep Systems demonstrates a UPSable RTA foundation for the company’s sleep sets.
High Point Market ever," said Richard Fleck, chief marketing officer at Paramount Sleep. "We opened up several new customers and have leads on some incredible future customer programs."
     Paramount introduced three new brands. The iGravity bed is designed to deliver "weightless sleep," while the Octane line features model numbers that correspond to gasoline octane levels: 87, 89, 93, 98 and 102. And the Nature's Spa Pure Gel line features a layer of gel on a layer of latex.
     Shifman Mattress, showing a new two-sided latex bedding line, had a strong market, said Mike Hammer, chairman.
     Therapedic, showing its hybrid Agility line, now ready for shipment, had a "decent" market, said Gerry Borreggine, president. A big plus was a meeting with several officials of the company's new Turkish licensee, a key addition to the group, he added.
     Gold Bond got a good response to its broad product offering of a dozen new beds. "We have new price points we haven't had in years," said Bob Naboicheck, president. "Customers love that."
     Jamison's English Garden Collection retails from $499 to $899, and its upgraded aesthetics, display
Ken HinmanKen Hinman of Jamison sits amid retail display materials with floral themes that support the company’s new English Garden Collection.
materials, and feels offer the promise of even higher retails for dealers who want to boost their margins, said Ken Hinman, senior vice president.
     "We are showing our dealers how to get new customers," he said. "This line has a power-packed story."
     Enso Sleep Systems stepped out with a complete bedding program built around its Solutions Studio gallery.
     "We've pulled everything together," said Mark Akerman, vice president of merchandising. "Our merchandise is right. Our dealers are telling us we are hitting our stride."
     Retailers liked FXI's new BIOS line of mattresses and sleep accessories, said Devin Garrity, vice president of sales for bedding. He said the line offers tailored sleep solutions based on extensive consumer research.
     Pure LatexBliss continues to add dealers, said Kurt Ling, president. He said the company's new World's Best Adjustable Bed Base, cushioned with latex, got a good response from retailers.

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