Motion sources capitalizing on hot category
Many plan aggressive product rollouts
Larry Thomas -- Furniture Today, April 28, 2011
HIGH POINT — Hoping to capitalize on the category's continuing standout performance at retail, vendors offering motion furniture and recliners at this week's market are rolling out aggressive lineups of new products at a variety of price points.
Executives say such products continue to do well in the face of otherwise sluggish business conditions, and they don't believe that will change unless consumers suddenly begin shunning flat-panel televisions as their primary form of home entertainment.
They say recent upgrades in fashion, style and function have made the products suitable for virtually any room in the house - and suitable for any retail upholstery presentation.
Buyers will find value-oriented recliners aimed at the $299 to $699 retail price points among the most prevalent offerings, but a number of higher-end recliners are being unveiled as well. Plus, motion sofa price points of $699 to $999 in fabric and $999 to $1,299 in leather are being emphasized, as are motion sectionals, which appear to be making a modest comeback.
Executives say sectionals, in many cases, are purchased as alternative to home theater seating because they are more versatile and can be used in varied configurations.
"One thing we've learned from our customers over the years is that, when it comes to sectionals, people want options," said Eric Vollmer, sales and marketing specialist at Best Home Furnishings.
Best, Lane, Berkline, Flair Designs and Affordable are among those turning the spotlight on motion sectionals and sofas at market, while Franklin and Catnapper are among those with several new, promotionally priced recliners in their showrooms.
Other key recliner introductions can be found at category icon La-Z-Boy, whose new product lineup includes a pair of recliners with interchangeable embroidered sports team logos;
Norwalk, whose new Luke recliner program has chairs available in 850 fabrics and 150 leathers; and American Leather, whose high-end Comfort Recliner has everything from a gas cylinder-assisted foot rest to a patented mechanism that allows for an infinite number of reclining positions.
In addition, promotional powerhouse Man Wah/ Cheers is rolling out an extensive lineup of leather recliners in a variety of styles, while Craftmaster is expanding its lineup of domestically built fabric recliners that have more than 1,000 available covers.
On the motion sofa front, Berkline is unveiling several models that have two or three reclining seats, while El Ran has no fewer than seven new motion seating groups in its showroom, and Lane and Catnapper have at least five each.
In addition, new resource Era Nouveau, which had 17 motion groups with all-leather covers at last month's Premarket, has another nine groups in its showroom this week. Most are targeting sofa retail price points of $999 and above.
"The key thing with us is increasing the dollars per square foot for the retailer," said Sam Contreras, one of the partners in Era Nouveau. "We're trying to be a little more market driven."
Franklin, meanwhile, is emphasizing the $699 retail price point in motion sofas, and its new product lineup includes a model with two reclining seats and a drop-down table.
"Although business, in general, is spotty, our business has been strong because we have aligned ourselves with dealers who are strong in their niche," said Chuck Tidwell, Franklin's vice president of merchandising and product development. "Our factory has been working overtime almost every week since the first of the year."
Prime Designs, meanwhile, is one of several resources touting encased coil seating systems at market. The company is adding two motion groups to its successful Ultimate Coil collection, including one that is designed for smaller home, apartments and condominiums.