Special programs lure case goods buyers
Heath E Combs -- Furniture Today, August 27, 2012
TUPELO, Miss. - Special programs continued to help wood vendors here separate themselves from the pack and gave buyers a little something extra to merchandise on the retail floor.
Manufacturers touted the benefits of programs ranging from a multicolor promotional bedroom at Harden Mfg. to recliner-mate sofa table combos at Lane and a domestically produced entertainment gallery program at Legends.
And even though nearby upholstery manufacturers are a driving force for the Tupelo market, domestic wood vendors made their presence felt here.
At domestic manufacturer Harden, retailers continued to respond well to the Colors promotional bedroom program with full, queen or twin headboards, chest and nightstand combinations, said Marc Force, director of sales.
A three-piece Colors bedroom group would retail for $179, he said, adding that the program is a good concept for use in second bedrooms. He said dealers also like the ability to showcase six colors in a small display with tiered headboards and a chest with alternating drawer colors.
Another big hit for Harden was the Donovan solid wood, Mission styled, merlot finished, polyurethane sealed bedroom group with nickel hardware, Force said. The bed is larger than in a traditional promotional set and a four-piece group retails for $999.
Lane Home Furnishings reported success with the Mission styled Frasier occasional group with a reclaimed look. The company plans to develop a chair arm off fretwork inspired by the sides of the table, said Bo Morrison, go-to-market director.
Also popular with dealers at Lane were cocktail storage ottomans with cedar linings, double hinges and bonded leather, which hit retail price points around $399.
The company's stackable sofa tables were selling well in recliner-mate, buy-one-get-one promotions, Morrison said. In the company's Trio three-pack occasional program, the Bedford and Mason styles did well, he said.
At domestic manufacturer Higdon Furniture, sales manager Bill Bevec said youth bedroom business was strong.
One novel design that won a good response was the No. 257 youth bedroom, with a dollhouse built into its headboard. Retailers also liked another youth set with nine interchangeable color panels, with slots for placement in the headboard and drawer fronts. Four-piece groups in both bedrooms retail for $599.
"The big story is different looks you can accomplish with one SKU," Bevec said.
Retailers were shopping domestic manufacturer and importer Legends Furniture for the electronics season, which got an early start with the Olympics this summer and continues through the professional football season, according to Jim Cherry, national sales manager.
Entertainment consoles that are 62 inches or longer continue to sell well, he said, adding that for that size, $299 for American made groups and $499 to $599 for imports are popular retail prices.
Domestic manufacture r Specialty Woodworking did well with the new No. 4900 five-piece solid cherry group, with a retail of about $2,999, according to Raymond Cross, a sales representative with the company.
Top sellers are typically in solid oak, he said, and the company continues to do well with a seldom-seen species, solid-red cedar, in the No. 4600 bedroom group and with wardrobes, Cross said.
"It still does good. There's not many that do this anymore," he said. "Our goal was once to be the cheapest. We said, ‘If we're going to stay in the U.S., we have to build the best.'"
Gail's Accents promoted a Tupelo special of $100 off for the purchase of 10 pieces. Ray Steele, co-founder of Gail's, said the show continued to draw buyers who use it as their primary furniture market.
"They come here because they find product they can't see anywhere else," Steele said.
He said the company did well with its Modern Bling Trunk with faux diamond accents and the Winmark silver chair with nail head trim.
Standard Furniture's Debbie Dilbeck, sales and merchandising executive assistant, said this Tupelo saw the return of several regional customers who had not attended recent markets here.
The company's best seller was its Portico bedroom, introduced in July in Las Vegas, and the Daphne, a new girls' youth bedroom group introduced in Tupelo, with sweetheart bases, shaped crown rails and floral overlay ornaments.
The company also did well with in-stock, ready-to-ship goods, since many customers were replenishing inventories at market. The rustic Craftsman Sonoma group, the modern Metro group and the traditional 18th century Westchester were among in-stock goods that did well, Dilbeck said.