Motion vendors stay aggressive with intros
Larry Thomas -- Furniture Today, November 4, 2011
HIGH POINT - Buoyed by the category's continuing popularity in the midst of an industrywide sales slump, motion upholstery resources are aggressively seeking additional business with a heavy round of product introductions here.
The new product lineup ranges from recliners that retail for $299 to sectionals retailing for more than $3,000, but common threads such as comfort, quick shipping and ease of use link this disparate group.
Most vendors say they've seen little or no slowdown in business in recent weeks, and they are convinced that pattern will continue as long as flat-panel televisions and related consumer electronics continue to sell well.
And while that means home theater seating will continue to be popular, it's also good news for other multi-seat configurations such as sectionals.
"Sectionals are a bi g part of our motion business," said Greg Roy, president of Lane, who noted that a recent advertisement featuring a sectional generated a record number of hits on the company's website.
Other showrooms featuring new motion sectionals include Catnapper, England, Franklin and Prestige motion, while Lane is joining Palliser, Klaussner, Barcalounger, and Row One/Jasper Cabinet with major rollouts of home theater seating.
"The hottest thing in our line right now is home theater," said Lori Kelley, Palliser's vice president of sales for the western U.S. "And about 60% of it is power."
Palliser, however, is hardly the only motion furniture showroom touting power reclining mechanisms. Buyers at market would be hard-pressed to find an exhibitor that doesn't have power available on at least a few models.
Leather Italia has no fewer than nine new power motion seating groups, while Barcalounger is adding the feature to most of its line; Parker House is unveiling power motion on certain models in its Parker Living leather upholstery line; and upper-end resource W.Schillig is offering power on all of its new motion models. Schillig officials said at least one power motion product is being added to its domestic warehousing program.
"Power has really helped the motion business," said Harry Cierler, director of North American operations for Chateau D'Ax. "It makes it much easier to sell to women and much more convenient for everybody to use."
Recliners also are in the spotlight in many showrooms, as the venerable chairs remain in high demand as promotional items and as parts of motion and stationary seating groups.
Klaussner, for example, has 17 new domestic and imported recliners, while category sales leader La-Z-Boy has four introductions and Franklin has several at key promotional price points of $299 to $599.
In addition, Bradington-Young is adding 15 recliners to its upper-end B-Y Classics collection - all of which are available with power mechanisms - and Barcalounger's new Custom Choice collection includes a variety of domestically produced traditional, country and mixed media styles retailing for $599 to $1,599.
W.Schillig also is unveiling the Ergolux arm on two of its motion sofas. It's an arm that becomes a footrest in seconds.
"By simply flipping the arm over and down, you create a sturdy, convenient footrest," said J.T. O'Rourke, national sales manager. "It's an ingenious innovation that that adds a whole new level of comfort to transitional and contemporary sofas."