Barcalounger broadens its product assortment at Market
Larry Thomas -- Furniture Today, October 14, 2012
HIGH POINT - Barcalounger, an iconic brand name typically associated with vintage recliners, has broadened its product assortment in hopes of capturing floor space with retailers seeking a variety of other styles and product niches.
The company still has vintage recliners in its showroom here, but the spotlight this week is on pedestal chairs, home office seating, and wood-framed chairs with a casual flair - categories not previously associated with the brand.
In short, it's not only your father's Barcalounger anymore.
"We think this represents the rebirth of the brand," said Barcalounger President Larry Smith. "We're enriching it to be in a position to attract a new base of customers."
He said the new categories attack product niches that he believes are underserved in the marketplace, and should interest retailers who aren't looking for traditionally styled recliners.
"We are now in a position to begin remarketing this iconic brand," said Smith. "We are pleased that hundreds of dealers already have partnered with us, and we look forward to establishing new partnerships as a result of these initiatives."
The brand is one of the industry's oldest, but it disappeared from the market for more than a year in 2010 and 2011 after Barcalounger's previous owner filed for bankruptcy protection and shut down its lone U.S. factory.
The new owners tasked Smith and his management team with rebuilding the brand, and Smith said they quickly realized it would take more than vintage recliners to make the new Barcalounger a success.
That led to the development of products such as large-scale pedestal chairs, home office seating and chairs with wood frames and rattan side panels. All of the new products recline - after all, it's still a Barcalounger - but they're designed to appeal to consumers who aren't looking for vintage styling at middle to upper-middle price points.
The new Woodland Reserve collection, for example, features solid wood frames with fabric and leather covers. And Smith says the newest pedestal chairs have wider and deeper seats than others on the market, in addition to high-end features such as adjustable lumbar support.
"We want this brand to be the most diverse in terms of its niche development," said Smith, likening it to the recent repositioning of the Cadillac and Lincoln automobile brands to appeal to younger consumers.
But he's also quick to point out the company isn't giving up on vintage recliners, and said plenty of retailers still come into the showroom asking for them.
"We are not leaving the product that brought us to the party for so many years," said Smith.