Furniture Stores Beckon

Carole Sloan, August 11, 2008

As more mainstream home textiles suppliers begin to search the ranks of retailers beyond the HTT Top 50, there were clearly more of them participating in regional markets from Dallas to Atlanta to Las Vegas and now to New York for the International Gift Fair and Home Textiles Market later this week.

The targets in most cases are the better to upper-end specialty stores — a long overlooked channel of distribution for many of the big guys in this business. That's great, and a long overdue exercise as those who have been loyal readers of this space can attest.

But there is another, and even more basic, potential business bonanza awaiting the entreaties of the home textiles supplier side — the furniture stores across the country that have only a minimal, if any, selection of home textiles products to go with their furniture products.

Consider if you will, Mrs. Jones in Furniture Store X buying a new bedroom — the bed, dresser, nightstands and the like. She's definitely into a mindset that would be responsive to making that new bedroom even more inviting and decorative.

The furniture store typically has a major selection of mattresses — a key sales and profit segment for the business. But typically, there is a minimum — if any — of the basic stuff like pillows, mattress pads, and mattress protectors, in these furniture stores.

And that's just the basics. As for the decorative stuff like top of the bed, it's much like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack to find these products in most furniture stores.

Some companies specialize in basic and decorative products for furniture store merchandising, but there are enormous opportunities for the home textiles supplier base to tap into this ready-made consumer market.

When Mrs. Jones is making a major dollar investment in redoing her bedroom, it's logical to expect that she would be receptive to textile products that would further enhance that basic purchase.

The challenge over the years has been developing ease of selling programs that would encourage the furniture sales people to participate. Surely, someone will come up with that sales and profit-building formula.

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