Motion, leather resources focused on fall
Larry Thomas -- Furniture Today, July 30, 2012
LAS VEGAS - Motion and modular will be the operative words this week in upholstery showrooms as vendors strive to keep business brisk during a typically sluggish sales period.
Instead of worrying about the summer doldrums, resources for leather and motion upholstery say they will try to keep buyers focused on the normally upbeat fall selling season with several new products and programs. Executives say selling points such as versatility (modular configurations) and comfort (motion and power motion) are likely to dominate showroom discussions.
Plus, buyers can expect a continuation of the emphasis on domestically produced goods and/or goods that can be shipped quickly from domestic warehouses.
Product introductions are lighter than at past summer markets, with most exhibitors choosing to emphasize hot selling products from the January market here and the High Point Market in April.
"Since the April market, our motion business has been outstanding," said Len Burke, vice president of marketing at Klaussner. "We believe that momentum will continue in Las Vegas."
Burke said it has been especially gratifying to see dealers include several motion frames in their product lineup when they install the Solutions Studio in-store gallery program, and said some have opted to set up the program as an all-motion gallery.
"It's a way to keep the dealer from having to trade down all the time," he said of the studio program.
Cary Benson, president of sales and marketing at Palliser, said his company has no intention of taking its foot off the gas after racking up a 25% sales increase in the first half of this year, and will have several new offerings in motion, recliners and home theater in its Las Vegas showroom.
"For the first time in about five years, our factories didn't take the week of July Fourth off," Benson said. "Our backlog was sufficient, so we decided to keep them running."
Although Benson doesn't expect showroom attendance to top the January market, when more than 500 dealers visited Palliser's first-ever Las Vegas showroom, he still believes traffic will be brisk because of the sales momentum the company has built this year.
He said it's important to keep momentum going because consumer confidence could wane in the fall once the presidential campaign - and all the accompanying negative advertising - is in full swing.
"It's going to be hard for people to turn on the TV and not think the country is falling apart," said Benson.
Palliser's product introductions are headlined by the Vox home theater group, which is available with adjustable tray tables and a tablet computer holder, and the Norwood motion sofa, which has full chaise seating a sloping pillow arm.
In addition, the company is expanding a line of recliners that was unveiled in April. The new line has a power mechanism that allows the chair to rock and swivel.
Power is also a big story in the LaCrosse Furniture showroom, where the company is unveiling a power motion seating group featuring a sofa retailing for $1,299 in a leather/leather match cover.
A second new power group, which retails for $2,299 in a leather/leather match cover, includes three seating pieces that are a combined 101 inches in length.
Flexsteel, meanwhile, is expanding its Thornton group to include several modular pieces that allow for a virtually unlimited number of configurations. The group is available in leather and fabric covers, including its leather-like fabric called Nuvo Leather.
In addition, Leather Italia is featuring product that is part of its new 72-hour quick ship program, while another leather upholstery resource, Moroni, is expanding its promotionally priced Malibu Modern collection.
Jerry Ding, Moroni's U.S. sales manager, said the Malibu Modern line features all-leather sofas retailing for $1,199 to $1,599.
"We're going to continue to do more contemporary," Ding said. "It has done very well for us."
Other pieces in the Moroni line, including some designed by Stanley Jay Friedman, retail for $1,999 to $4,000.