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Good mattress news abounds as High Point Market nears
The mattress category enters this week's High Point Market on a hot streak. We are talking sizzling hot here, folks. (Click here to see our recent list of bedding product introductions for this week's market.)
The good news for the category began in Las Vegas at the first market of the year. It was a barn burner for mattresses, and I don't use that term lightly (or often). Bedding producers were thrilled with traffic and commitments in Las Vegas, calling it the strongest mattress market there in years.
Major mattress introductions were the order of the day in Las Vegas and retailers' enthusiastic response to those lines, several of which featured gel bedding models, showed that the category was strongly positioned for a good year.
In March, the International Sleep Products Assn. held an upbeat, well-attended Expo in Indianapolis that gave the industry another shot of optimism. After listening to the positive buzz at the show, one exhibitor predicted that confidence will be up 8% to 12% this year.
The third dose of good news came from the monthly Bedding Barometer reports issued by the International Sleep Products Assn. Those reports, which present the performance of 18 producers who account for a majority of the bedding industry's wholesale shipments, have been stunningly strong.
The January report said the participating producers reported units up 18.5%, with the dollar value of unit shipments up a staggering 29%. The February report was virtually a carbon copy of that, with units up 18.6% and dollars up 27.1%. For the first two months of the year, units are up 18.6% and dollars are up 28%, the ISPA February report says.
Industry analyst Jerry Epperson, a member of ISPA's Statistics Committee, described those January and February results as "strong - very strong - almost unbelievably strong." He also said that is "unsustainable growth."
Epperson is right, but I might go even further and simply say the ISPA figures are unbelievable. Based on the reports I'm hearing, there is no way that the majority of the industry is running so far ahead of last year's pace. I have heard various explanations for why the ISPA figures are so high: The demise of International Bedding last year unleashed a flood of business to other producers, the weather this year has been great compared to last year, and the bedding industry is experiencing a brisk start to 2012.
I don't have answers for why those ISPA figures are so incredibly, unbelievably high, but there is no doubt that the industry is off to a very strong start this year.
Whatever is happening with the ISPA figures, the industry is clearly in a very good place as the spring market prepares to open in High Point. Let's all enjoy the good news and have a great market.