Cantrex Nationwide to inspire its members at TCHFM
Michael J. Knell -- Furniture Today, January 8, 2014
TORONTO — Cantrex Nationwide members are coming off what officials say was an inconsistent 2013.
But over the course of a few days at the Canadian Home Furnishings Market, which runs Jan. 11-14, the buying group hopes to encourage and inspire those same independent retailers with new products and programs designed to drive business as 2014 opens.
"The main story for furniture in 2013 is the inconsistency of the marketplace," said Pat Kelly, director of furniture networks and retail programs for Cantrex Nationwide. "From week to week sales peak or drop dramatically even when supported by heavy marketing. Overall we are having a good year with positive numbers, it's just difficult to predict on the short term."
Kelly said CNW was helped by a growth in membership in 2013, and added that the group's mattress and appliance members outpaced the rest of the industry with a sales uptick in the double digits.
Looking to the first half of 2014, CNW isn't looking for record-setting growth.
"Similar to 2013, there is a certain amount of apprehension as to how to predict whether there will be a steady increase in furniture sales," Kelly said. "We are optimistic that we're on the right track for growth with our focus on multi-channel marketing and on supporting the brand message of the independent retailer - the one that differentiates them in the marketplace in an increasingly competitive landscape."
At TCHFM, CNW will be headquartered at the Holiday Inn Toronto Airport, a highlight of which will be the group's usual 80-bed mattress display. "This will be our most exciting year ever for the bedding category," Kelly said.
New programs exclusive to CNW members will include a lineup of its private label Allura upholstery, which he said will be fashion-forward while hitting key retail price points. Also planned are a new bedding vendor to be introduced at the market, a new exclusive mattress brand from Serta, and an expansion of the Cool Elegance by Serta collection and Allura by Sealy program.
"We're going to offer our members twice the number of marketing options to help drive the members' bedding business," Kelly said.
Cantrex will also have a spot inside the International Centre in Hall 2 where members can meet and have lunch.
In a new twist, the video crew from Atlanta-based Nationwide Marketing Group - CNW's parent company - will be at market to film key product demonstrations and line up reviews for appliances, mattresses and furniture.
"After the market, every CNW member and their staff will have access to both French and English training modules that will provide them the TCHFM experience from the comfort of their own desks," Kelly said.
The Montreal-headquartered group's new Online Learning Center will provide member stores and their staffs with information on new products, sales training and management courses. Kelly said this new service alone attracted some 20 new members to CNW in the past year.
Bedding Conference Set for 14-16 May