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Mattress Merchants Multitask

Bedding specialists hold 11 of the Top 25 slots in the rankings of bedding retailers and among them sell approximately $178.4 million of bedding accessories in addition to mattresses.

The 11 retailers are: Select Comfort, Sleep's, Mattress Firm, Mattress Giant, The Sleep Train, Serta-Exclusive Sleep Shops, Rockaway Bedding, Mattress.com (formerly Dial-a-Mattress), Mattress Discounters and Sleep City USA.

Among them, the non-mattress business ranges from 5% to 10% of their sales, with four of these retailers hitting the 10% mark, according to the Top 25 Bedding Retailers rankings for 2005, compiled by Furniture Today, sister publication to Home Textiles Today.

With 8% of its total revenues in bedding accessories, Sleep Comfort, the No.1 bedding retailer, did about $47 million in this segment of the business, the highest non-mattress dollar volume from any retailer in the group.

Discussing its bedding accessory program, John O'Connell, senior vp, merchandise and retail sales for Long Island City, N.Y.-based 1-800 Mattress.com, noted that the company's bedding accessories business "grew a bit" in 2006 over the $5.2 million figure of the prior year which was 5% of total sales. "We'd like it to be 10% in '07," he added. Of the accessories business, about half is in soft home.

"In reality," he noted, "mattress business is relatively flat now, so with bedding accessories, we can sell more to each customer," O'Connell observed. "These products are incremental business and bring more profit on top of the mattress sale."

The challenge to growing the bedding accessory business, O'Connell continued, "is to introduce new products to sales associates — and getting over the hump of this." Sales people are on commission for these products, he noted.

In soft home, 1-800 carries Southern Textiles' whole assortment for top of the bed, as well as pads, pillows and sheets. Sheets, he said, are offered from 200-count to 1,000-count, with 300-count the dominant construction. Latex International is another source for pillows. Also included in bedding accessories, he explained, are headboards and bed frames. While the soft home piece of the business, O'Connell acknowledged, "is very small today, we are looking to expand it."

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