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Melrose covers more product

Melrose Home introduced and unveiled a full line of sofa, dining room chair, loveseat and wing chair slipcovers during April market with designs on making this small but largely underdeveloped area of home textiles a major part of its product assortment.

According to John Emrani, managing director of the company, Melrose's market introductions were well received by a variety of different retailers.

"We've studied that part of the industry, and we feel it's a growing market," said Emrani, who estimated slipcovers could make up to 20 percent of the company's business. "There's a handful of companies out there, but the slip cover industry has really been dominated by one company. We felt that because of our apparel relationships that this was a tremendous opportunity to bring our product to the marketplace and market it successfully."

Melrose, which is a relative newcomer to the home textiles market that also offers soft window coverings, soft tabletop, decorative pillows and throws, believes that its two primary strengths are its ability to deliver on time and its apparel base. The Emrani family has owned and operated Emday Fabrics Inc., an apparel company, for several decades and believes its involvement in that business enables it to provide timely and highly fashionable products on time to its customers.

Asked about the variety of products offered, Emrani said the company's aim was to function as a one-stop shop for retailers with product ranging from the window to the sofa to the pillows.

Thirteen different fabrics, each available in three to five colors, make up Melrose's product offering. Cotton, chenille, polyester, denim, velvet, suede and many others are all represented in wholesale price points ranging from $30 to $65 for a sofa-size slipcover, with the majority of product being manufactured in Turkey, China and Taiwan. Patterns range from the contemporary to the traditional, with plenty of texture provided.

Emrani said breaking into this highly defined market has not been easy. Although the company has picked up some catalog placement, Emrani acknowledged some retailers have been reluctant to go to a new source of slipcovers due to the relationships built up over the years with older, more established companies. In addition to catalogs, specialty stores and department stores make up the main distribution focus for Melrose.

"We've walked into the category fully stacked," Emrani said. "All we're asking from retailers is the opportunity to prove ourselves."

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