Occasional looks include contemporary, French
Heath E Combs -- Furniture Today, November 7, 2011
HIGH POINT - In a category with an already dazzling variety, the High Point Market's mix of occasional and accent furniture grew even more eclectic.
Many pieces took the focus on style up a notch, with the segment continuing to become more crowded and more competitive with each market.
Contemporary continued to gain steam at companies like Chintaly, as did French-inspired looks at Stein World and Butler Specialty and peeled gold and mirror at Gail's Accents.
Some sources also updated bread and butter looks in an effort to keep fresh in the ever-changing accent category.
Riverside, with 15 new occasional groups, did well with Napa Valley, said Mike Charlton, senior vice president, product development and merchandising. The group, which carries a $299 container price for a cocktail table, is in light ash solids and veneers with a clean, relaxed look and low-sheen finish that exposed wood grains.
Also getting a lot of looks, he said, was the company's Binghamton group with vintage mocha finish, knotty alder veneers, distressing and a plank top, and the coastal Evening Tide group. Customers are asking for coastal looks with more design, Charlton said.
Martin Home Furnishings continued to add to its occasional offerings and hired five designers to create new looks, said Christine Takara, marketing director. The additions were more contemporary and contemporary transitional, including a Parson's design with a mosaic inlay in the center of the top.
Another hot look at Martin was the Hudson sliding-top table with a moving tray inside, giving two levels of storage in the interior. The finish emphasizes the wood grains.
Chintaly Imports continued to stress products that can create ancillary sales for retailers. The company had 13 new curios, said Randy Graboski, vice president of sales. Its broad selection of motion occasional, with eight new tables, also continues to be popular because they offer unique looks and feature storage on multiple levels, he said.
Fairmont Designs introduced narrower occasional tables this market, designed to free up more floor space in a room, said Steve York, vice president of merchandising.
"The more square footage we can give the living room, the more practical that is for living," he said.
Some of the company's occasional pieces also feature grooves for iPads so users can prop them upright on tables. Also worth noting was the Riviera cocktail table, a simple but fun piece that York said was based on company's leaf logo and offers shelving and casters.
Gail's Accents drew attention for looks from a new factory known for its finishes. Among those looks is a peeled gold and mirrored top on an accent table, oak veneers emphasizing wood grains, high-end carved looks, a wire-brushed look with a chalky white hang-up and detailed prints.
"Retailers have to find something everybody doesn't have," said Ray Steele, co-owner. "They're here looking for ideas."
Probably the hottest number at Stein World was the No. 476 group, a fully wrapped linen introduction with six tables and two colors, creamy white and sea foam, according to Alex Plummer, director of product development and merchandising. It has a French laundry-inspired design and word prints.
Stein World also scored with Market Square, a group with elm veneers, a rustic finish and drop ring hardware, he said. The company will expand the group, Plummer said.
At Hooker Furniture, product manager Erica Wingo said the company's big push to refresh its Seven Seas accents with updated finishes and silhouettes was well received. Mixed media elements, including chicken wire paneling on accent doors and rustic brown wood tones, got good reaction from retailers, Wingo said.
In the larger Seven Seas credenza groups, handpainted rustic, timeworn finishes were well received as was the black and brown two-tone color palette. In the company's Melange accents, the Curlicue was the best received item, with a neutral gray color pallet and textured stitched look, Wingo said.
Butler Specialty did well showing groups for the first time made in Vietnam, said Dan Sumner, executive vice president of sales and marketing. A big focus in this market's 225 new items was offering lots of transitional looks and diversifying the line, he said.
Sumner said rustics, painted looks and industrial did well at market and that the company's stone, glass and metal India introductions were faring well. Also selling was a Parson's chair program with eight slipcovers and chairs that retail for about $249. Dealers can show multiple SKUs and use minimal floor space to show the product, he said.