• Mary Burritt

Lifestyle to ship first outdoor sets

lifestyle sectionalHIGH POINT, N.C. – Lifestyle International will send out its first shipments of its new outdoor line in January.

A promotional dining set, a sectional sofa and a group of sectional, loveseat and chair comprise the orders, said Derrick Ng, executive vice president for Lifestyle.

The case goods sourcing company debuted its outdoor collection at the October market. Ng said he conceived the line after noticing many of Lifestyle’s customers don’t carry outdoor furniture.

He also noticed the disparity in outdoor collections sold by retailers. “When I look at the outdoor, it doesn’t have a standard look to the design,” Ng said.

“No one is identical. You maybe can compare sectionals 100 inches long, maybe can compare the size and the price, but for the looks, the fabrics and the colors, and the weaving and the rattan and the different materials, there are many combinations.”

For consumers, that means “it’s really difficult to compare apples to apples,” Ng observed, and therefore “the price is not the very important thing to consider. I think they trust (Lifestyle) can provide them with the best price and the best item in the market.”

Lifestyle chose to target moderately priced furniture. “Walmart and Target and Home Depot can sell $99 for a table and four,” Ng said. “This is the category where we will not compete with them because they have very big buying power and they can sell very, very cheap. So we will be mid-price point, not too high end, but affordable. We are targeting the retail price point between $1,000 and $2,000, max.”

Lifestyle has years of experience handling factory sourcing and production, but outdoor furniture presented an unexpected challenge.

“The factory, they have seasonal productions,” Ng said. “To hit the (outdoor) seasons in the customers’ countries, they need to ship everything from September into January. This is probably their busiest time to ship.

“When we approach them we also face the season timing, we have to squeeze in, see if the factory can expand capacity. This is right now the only challenge.”

Ng declined to say which retailers have ordered the outdoor line or where those orders will be shipped, but said he expects Lifestyle to ship at least 20 sets in January. Lifestyle also will debut more outdoor furniture at the January Las Vegas market.

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