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Best Brands shifts focus to bedding

NEW YORK -After years of concentrating on its core business of textiles for the kitchen, Best Brands' bedding division is coming into its own.

The bigger and better division was unveiled during fall market 2000 with Mary Hughes behind the designs and a revamped B.U.M. Equipment line on the showroom floor.

"With the introduction of our first designer collection by Mary Hughes and our B.U.M. Equipment license, we have set the stage for our niche in the marketplace," said Steve Lewis, vp of sales and marketing, bedding division, for Best Brands.

Formerly, kitchen textiles and bath towels were the main focus of the privately owned Best Brands, with some comforters, mini bed-in-bags and sheeting for the B.U.M. line being manufactured. But Lewis said that "opportunities within the marketplace" led the company to believe that it could carve out its share of the market. Consequently, an emphasis within the last eight months was put on the bedding division.

With more employees now working for the bedding division, as well as plans to bring on two more designers in the works, Best Brands, based here, plans to introduce during the spring market bed-in-bags with muslin, 180- or 200-count constructions, comforter sets, comforters, matelasse coverlets and woven throws. A 200-thread count twin bed-in-bag will retail for $79.99, said Lewis. Three bedding patterns in time for the Back-to-School season, Bora, Batik and Hybiscus, will also be new for the B.U.M. line

In addition, five patterns are also available from Hughes' designer line. Flora and Fauna, At the Seashore, Provance, Hydrangia and Autumn Sonata will be offered in both comforter and 200-count sheet sets.

"We're going to give the customer the most fashion-forward look at a popular price," said Lewis about the introductions. "What we need to do is develop our customer base and develop our products even further."

Lewis said Best Brands' strategy is to go after many of the different levels of general merchandisers since many of the new products are geared for the different store classifications.

Expanding to top-of-bed is a possibility, he added, as well as coordinating lines between Best Brands' bathroom and bedroom sets.

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