Are bedspreads bracing for a comeback?

Michele SanFilippo, May 10, 2004

In fashion, they say that everything old is new again. Does the same also hold true in bedding? Some in the industry are noticing the early stages of a possible comeback for bedspreads.

"A bedspread is considered an old item, but is new to younger people in their 20s and 30s who didn't grow up with them, and don't want to spend time making their bed and dealing with all the separate pieces," said Steve McKeever, senior buyer for bedding at JCPenney. "We are trying to go after a more novel, youthful approach to bedspreads now, targeting the $99 and above price range. We want to offer some new fabrications and looks."

McKeever explained that JCPenney has always done a reasonably good job with bedspreads through its catalog, so the business never really went away. "We're seeing not a major resurgence but an opportunity nonetheless. One of the biggest issues is determining the most appropriate size for bedspreads because of the varied mattress sizes now," he added.

According to Shay Zamir, vice president of merchandising at Divatex, "Bedspreads are back in the last couple of months and will be eating into the comforter category, but not replacing them at any point in time."

He said people are buying bedspreads again because the natural cycle of products is for them to be popular for a while, then get quiet for a few years. "It's a retro item that is appealing to younger, hipper consumers now," said Zamir.

Dean Davaros, vice president of business development for Sunham, concurred. "Bedspreads have sort of made a bit of a comeback," he said. "This is a category that was going nowhere for a while and had some success recently at department stores, so they obviously want to build on this business."

As for whether bedspreads could have an impact on the sale of other bedding options, Davaros wasn't so sure. "There are different customers out there who like specific bedding products, so I can't say that one category affects others."

Meanwhile, Jeff Jacobs, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Keeco, has seen the continued impact of importing on the market.

"Embellishment and piecing, formerly the exclusive domain of quilts, have crossed into comforters, duvets and bedspreads," he said. "The emerging business trends today are embellished bedcoverings and the beginning of a noticeable uptrend in demand for bedspreads as a functional and viable bedding choice."

Nelson Chow, vice president of sales at China-based C&F Enterprises, echoed Jacobs' comments.

"We have more requests to do bedspreads, comforters and duvets now with the same quilting techniques that are not economically feasible for manufacturers in the United States," he said.

Decorative pillow and bedding manufacturer Dakotah has even entered into the category this past New York Home Textiles Market, focusing on numerous contemporary looks. The company's lead bed, Urban Mod, was a gold metallic bedspread quilted in a Greek key motif.

"Bedspreads are a new category for us that customers are requesting now," said Toby Weinstein, vice president of sales and marketing at Dakotah. "People are looking to us to address a classification that is being ignored, textures that make beds look different and contemporary looks."

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