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Ailing Saydah Sheds More Programs

Town and Country acquires key accounts

New York — Less than two weeks after Glenoit LLC acquired financially troubled Cecil Saydah’s rug division, Saydah has inked a second deal — this time with Town and Country Living — for the sale of some key account programs in kitchen textiles and table linens.

The two companies began the transition three weeks ago. As of this week, New York-based Town and Country has officially taken over the programs Cecil Saydah Co. (CSC) had at Costco, Kmart, Kohl’s and Wal-Mart.

"I know these accounts are in very good hands, with a company that shares many of the same values and commitments to excellence as Cecil Saydah Co.," Harold Schierholt, president of Cecil Saydah, said. "Town and Country is working with some of CSC’s best creative talent through which Town and Country should further strengthen their dominant position as the fashion leader in the kitchen and table categories."

Added David Beyda, chairman of Town and Country: "Over the years, we have had the utmost respect for Dick and John Saydah, Harold (Schierholt) and the rest of CSC. They have been a fine competitor, and they are wonderful people."

Before this summer, when CSC began considering closing its doors because of price deflation and fierce competition in the marketplace, kitchen textiles represented its top grossing product offering, ringing in at $48 million in sales in 2003 and positioning it in third place of the top five kitchen textiles suppliers in country. Town and Country’s acquired portion represents more than 50 percent of that business.

With the acquisition, Town and Country is now situated as one of the top three kitchen textiles suppliers with more than $50 million in sales.

"We look at the asset we are acquiring as an additive to our business," Beyda said. "It will either grow on existing relationships we have in place or establish new relationships with new retail partners."

The kitchen programs being acquired include some private-label programs and some Cecil Saydah house brands, like Gourmet Gallery, which Town and Country will retain.

Town and Country has long been the country’s top table linen supplier, last year reporting $112 million in sales. Many of these programs coordinate with its kitchen textiles lines.

"Our kitchen program has been growing over the past three years," he said. Its line includes private label and licensed programs, like KitchenAid.

As part of the acquisition, Town and Country has installed a transition team and has arranged to keep some of Cecil Saydah’s kitchen textiles executive team, including Caroline Katz for design and product development. Town and Country is currently in negotiations to hire some of Cecil Saydah’s other kitchen textiles staff, Beyda said.

"We’re very focused on transitioning the business over to Town and Country as seamlessly as possible," he explained.

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