Premarket sets fall tone
Thomas Russell -- Furniture Today, September 16, 2013
HIGH POINT - Wood resources offering a wide mix of styles and price points at last week's Premarket here got early feedback from dealers on fall introductions ranging from short bedrooms to whole home collections.
The Sept. 9-10 event also helped case goods producers and importers nail down distribution for key accounts seeking exclusivity on
Vaughan-Bassett's intros included new bedrooms in multiple finish options as well as two new categories - home entertainment and home office. Produced in its Galax, Va., facilities, the pieces come in multiple styles and finishes, a strategy built on the success of its previous bedroom introductions.
By offering selection, the company and the retail salesperson are allowing the customer to choose between options versus saying no to a single SKU in only one finish, said Wyatt Bassett, CEO.
Bassett said that the company will be showing additional groups in October. Premarket, he said, lets the company get as much feedback on the product as possible before market.
"We make sure we have as much market-ready product here as we always do," he said. "We also have the advantage of being close to market with the factory 85 miles away."
Broyhill showed New Vintage, a 50-plus piece collection, its largest in recent years. Dealers responded well to the Americana-themed design elements as well as the use of a bright red accent color available on nightstands, benches and servers, officials said.
The company also received strong response to its 20-piece 4965 California casual collection and its updated traditional Elaina collection.
In addition showing new product, Premarket is important because it allows the company to make small changes before market, said Ben Radoll, director of sales operations.
Universal's offerings included the company's largest assembly of non-licensed product in years. This included three case goods collections and one youth line launched in July called Bellamy.
The 24-Piece Bellamy comes in a white finish with antique rose and French gray accent finishes on various pieces such as nightstands and bed panels. The other three collections are midsized lines ranging from the 24-piece Silhouette to the 33-piece Cordevalle. As part of its marketing efforts, the company also produced slick marketing materials that define the design influences and the targeted consumer.
Bernhardt previewed several collections here including the English, Italian and French-influenced Eaton Square in cherry veneers and warm harvest brown finish; the casually sophisticated Pacific Canyon in dark coffee bean finish; and Auberge, an updated French cottage look.
By giving suppliers early access to buyers representing about half the retail floors its product gets shown on, Bernhardt gets a jump start on market to order product from overseas sources and in ordering fabrics, said Alex Bernhardt Jr., CEO and president of Bernhardt.
"We couldn't do without it," he said.
Hooker Furniture had a generous product offering spread over large and small collections alike. These included Grand Palais, a 65-piece European Traditional influenced collection and Solana a 55-piece piece 19th Century European Traditional influenced collection with casual design elements.
The company also showed pieces in its popular Sanctuary and Melange case goods and accent furniture lines along with several short bedroom and dining room groups. Other October introductions include new pieces in its functional and fashion forward Workwell office program.
SLF showcased new looks in its Glamour line, which included two new bedrooms. One of these was in a pearlescent platinum finish and featured mirrored accents. The other was in a black finish and features faux croc vinyl elements on headboards and case pieces.
The company has been segmenting its line into various lifetstyle themes, which is garnering positive response from dealers. In addition to Glamour the company has a segment called Everyday Living. This includes a new 15-piece dining and bedroom collection called Monterey, which is made with oak veneers in a textured mid-tone finish with dusty wax hangup.
SLF President Lee Boone said the company saw about 45 dealers as of midafternoon Tuesday, which was fewer in number than previous events, but represented a strong cross section of the industry.
"These were all the dealers we expected to see and wanted to see," he said, adding that Premarket is a good "dress rehearsal for us to tweak things and collaborate with dealers on fine-tuning the product."
Many dealers also have reported a strong Labor Day, which gave some resources the feeling that many have a strong open-to-buy position.
"Most feel business is stable and mostly positive," said Mike Harris, president of Legacy Classic, which showcased new looks in its mid-century modern-inspired Palisades bedroom and dining room collection and its transitional Dover bedroom and dining room collection, which comes in a tortoise shell finish on birch veneers and features design elements such as mirrored doors on sideboard and LED lights in a 78-inch-tall sliding door china cabinet.
Legacy Kids also received strong early response to its new licensed Wendy Bellissimo licensed youth furniture line, which includes an upholstered bed and two new wood beds and corresponding case pieces available in three finishes including an off white, a gray tone finish called Morning Mist and a mid-tone wood finish called Driftwood.