Bedding business steady as new product does well
David Perry -- Furniture Today, November 7, 2011
HIGH POINT - It was "steady as she goes" in mattress showrooms here, producers reported.
New bedding lines were generally well received, producers said. And the market got off to an early start in a number of bedding showrooms.
"We experienced steady traffic from retailers seeking out the latest Stearns & Foster line," said Jodi Allen, chief marketing officer at Sealy. "The response from retailers to the evolution of the brand's signature aesthetic and new marketing campaign was tremendous."
"I would characterize market traffic as steady, but the feedback we received from the dealers who visited was tremendous," said Gary Fazio, CEO of Simmons. "Dealers were upbeat about their businesses in the last 60 days and had very positive things to say about how our brands are performing on their floor."
Fazio said many of the conversations with dealers at Simmons were focused on the new ComforPedic Loft line and its Air Cool Sleep System.
"We discussed how consumers in the market for memory foam want ‘temperature management.' They're not necessarily looking for specific attributes like gel, but rather want to understand how the bed will perform for them overall," he said.
Some producers reported the market got off to an earlier start than past shows here. "We had people knocking on our door," said Serta President Bob Sherman.
Serta exhibited its popular iComfort line of gel memory foam beds, and also offered new encased coil options in its Perfect Sleeper line at prices from $899 to $1,099.
International Bedding was among the companies reporting more activity earlier in the market cycle, before the official Saturday opening. "Friday is getting to be a more important day," said Dan Hige, president of International Bedding.
"We had people in on Thursday and Friday," said Kurt Ling, CEO of Pure LatexBliss. "We like that." Retailers were buzzing about the gel category, he said.
"The big guys are here," said Therapedic CEO Gerry Borreggine. Interest in Therapedic's new Theragel line of gel-cushioned beds was high, he said.
Restonic attracted interest with a promotion tied to consumer electronics retailer Best Buy for gift-with-purchase offers. "Retailers are committed to shop this market and find extended values, not just with price points but with programs to drive customers into their stores," said Ron Passaglia, Restonic president. "The mattress category will benefit from this type of promotion."
Shifman Mattresses had another strong market, said Bill Hammer, president. "This market is phenomenal," he said. "Friday was a very strong day for us. For Shifman to be one of the first stops for major retailers is very exciting for us. It shows that we have something new and exciting."
Spring Air exhibited in the Specialty Sleep Assn. space and featured its BioMax line of ecofriendly beds carrying Level II certification from the Specialty Sleep Assn. "It is worth showing in High Point for us to get in front of traditional furniture retailers," said Rick Robinson, Spring Air's president.
Jamison got a great response to its new brand strategy and three key new product lines, said Ken Hinman, senior vice president of sales and marketing.
Paramount Sleep added new gel models added to its Back Performance line and a new Nature's Spa line that emphasizes natural latex and other natural materials, including wool, cotton and wood.
Klaussner's market introductions included a new bedding executive: Former Sealy exec Mark Akerman, recently named vice president of sales and merchandising for the company's Enso Sleep Systems unit.
"Retailers are interested in knowing what we are doing that is new in the memory foam category," Akerman said. "They are spending time with us to learn what we are doing differently."
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