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Accent & Area Rugs: Total category sales — $5.1 billion

The accent and area rug category managed to successfully weather the stormy climate of the economy last year, reeling in retail sales that increased by about 12 percent to $5.1 billion compared to 1999 figures, according to an exclusive study conducted by Home Textiles Today on the status of the accent and area rug industry.

Distribution remains unchanged at the discount store level, which continued to consume almost half, 44 percent, of the share, as well as individual specialty stores, which remained at 2 percent.

But shifting occurred at other levels of retail.

On the rise were home centers, which comprised a total market share of 21 percent, or $1.071 million, a 5 percent increase from 1999; specialty chains, which increased from 10 percent to 11 percent, or $561 million; and warehouse clubs, which also grew, from 2 percent to 3 percent, or $153 million.

All other channels lost market share, namely department stores, which took a step down to 9 percent, or $459 million, from 11 percent. Catalogs similarly also took a two-point turn for the worse, reducing to 2 percent, or $102 million, from 4 percent.

Fabrication of accent and area rug sales had little variety, with the bulk, 79 percent, made of man-made fibers; 18 percent made of natural fibers; and 3 percent made from blends.

A wider variety was seen in sizing: 27 percent was 3' x 5'; 25 percent was 5' x 8'; 19 percent was 4' x 6'; 13 percent was 6' x 9'; and 16 percent was other sizes outside the normal range.

As sourcing took center stage, growing by 3 percent, to 29 percent, vs. domestically made product, the types of constructions shifted as a result. Tufted product made up three-fourths vs. non-tufted. In 1999, tufted-only product occupied 68 percent. Machine-made product also dominated, at 93 percent, vs. its 1999 figure of 89 percent. Handmade product, by default, took a smaller portion, 7 percent vs. the 11 percent share it occupied in 1999.

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