Medium, higher prices set pace in case goods
Thomas Russell -- Furniture Today, May 7, 2012
HIGH POINT - Good traffic and appetites for better end goods turned the April High Point Market into one of the strongest in recent years for case goods resources.
Instead of focusing on starting price points, many exhibitors promoted goods firmly in the middle to better part of their lines.
Retailers "are selling goods at higher price points and are here trying to buy product that is a little more expensive and higher style," said Steve Kincaid, president of solid wood resource Kincaid Furniture. "They realize they can sell furniture in our price range.... We are seeing people who have lowered their price points and they are coming back because they are getting requests for higher end products."
The company had strong response to its new Moonlight Bay, a whole home collection with West Indies, African and British Colonial design influences. Dealers like the generously scaled carved elements on headboards such as a sunburst pattern on a king panel bed that retails for $1,499.
Kincaid didn't skimp on details. In addition to carved bed posts and dining table legs, the collection features full posts and thick tops on case pieces and top grain leather on a hand-tufted sleigh bed that retails at $3,000.
Kincaid also said it had success with Winston, a collection in solid maple with a leg table and four chairs priced at $1,599 and a sleigh bed with an upholstered headboard that retails at $1,499.
In recent years, Broyhill has focused on lower price points, including its entry-level priced Essentials program. This market, it focused on goods in the middle part of its pricing structure.
The company said the response to groups such as Laurel Hills was positive. Dealers liked the Shaker-inspired design elements as well as the use of pin knotty cherry veneers on case and dining table tops. Other value-added features include cedar-lined underbed storage.
A four-piece bedroom is targeted to retail for $2,999 out of the warehouse and a rectangular trestle base table and six chairs are slated to retail at $1,999, also out of the warehouse.
Lexington Home Brands said it had strong traffic and good response to its introductions. These included Aquarius, a 100-plus piece, designer friendly contemporary assortment. The company said dealers liked the eclectic mix of pieces ranging from a table with a glass top and jet engine fan-shaped polished metal base to colorful leather-wrapped chests and desks.
Monterrey Sands, made with gray elm veneers in a lighter finish with waxy hang up, also received strong commitments and orders at Lexington. Dealers liked the casual nature of the finish as well as the shutter effect on some drawers and doors. This collection, which has two beds and two dining tables, falls in the company's entry level price points, partly due to the smaller scale of its pieces.
Universal saw strong response to its three Better Homes and Gardens additions. While its coastal-inspired American Cottage did better on the East Coast and Midwest, the other two, Modern Expressions and the Mediterranean-inspired Classic Home, did well throughout the U.S., said Don Essenberg, a senior vice president of sales.
The collections are at upper medium price points, with four-piece bedrooms starting at $2,499 and table and four sets retailing from $1,299 to $1,999.
Magnussen had strong response to bedrooms in the middle to upper part of its line, with four-piece sets targeted to retail from $1,499 to as high as $1,999. Some 60-70% of the 10 new sets were expected to go into production thanks to dealer response to the styles and their use of quality veneers, officials said.
Higher-end resources such as Drexel Heritage, Henredon and E.J. Victor said they too had a good market.
Henredon had strong response to its new Aston Court collection, which has 18th and 19th century design elements. Made with mahogany solids and crotch mahogany veneers, it falls in the starting price point for the line, with a king sleigh bed retailing at about $7,000 and a double pedestal dining table that uses six full plates of crotch mahogany veneers targeted to retail at about $7,500.
U.S.-made product also continued to draw interest at market.
American Drew, which imports most of its case goods, launched collections with U.S.-made bedrooms and had orders and commitments on all three.
Copeland Furniture said it did well with three new contemporary dining rooms, including Sarah in solid cherry and Catalina and Audrey, each made with solid American black walnut. Leg and trestle tables range from about $2,000 to $2,499.
"All these dining sets are in production," said Ben Copeland, sales manager, adding that there is a four-week lead time on goods produced in its Bradford, Vt., factory. "When we bring something to market, we are ready to pull the trigger and put it in the line."
Still, there continues to be a huge market for lower-middle to promotionally priced imports and domestic goods. Standard Furniture said it's still doing well with Modern Fusion, including 10 pieces in its new Parisian collection, which features mirrored surfaces on headboards, dining tables and chests and dressers.
Dealers like the mirrored style and the price points - a four-piece bedroom can retail at $999 and a table and four dining set can retail for $949.
"For the price point, you are getting a lot of look and it is competing with higher end product," said Sean Ros, vice president of marketing.
Harden Mfg. reported strong dealer response to its new bedrooms, which feature dresser mirror, headboard and chest combinations targeted to retail as low as $399. Reaction on its latest, Hamilton, gives the company seven bedrooms priced in this realm.