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Sunham Eyes Fashion to Revive Quilt Category

Seeking to return to the days of solid margins in the quilt category, manufacturer Sunham Home Fashions is putting fashion first, and adding interactive mystery to its marketing.

For quilts and all of its broad home textiles offerings in bed, bath and rugs, the company now projects an overall "40% conversion" of its sales volume from spring 2009 into 2010 "from price-driven merchandise to quality-driven, fashion-forward programs."

With the launch of its viral website "GuessTheTrend.com," Sunham said it is positioning its product line "to truly bring the height of fashion home for consumers." A trade advertising campaign is also in progress.

"Many players in the home textiles market have been talking about spurring sales through value, but the conversations always seem to begin with price. A truly successful retail program starts first with quality product," said Jane Bognacki, president of Sunham Home Fashions.

"The fashion-forward quilt segment has been dominated by licensed brands for close to ten years," Bognacki asserted. "And with material and labor costs now increasing and with merchants trying to hold retails down, what suffers? The product. Our niche is delivering on quality and design—providing more value than the designer labels can routinely afford to give consumers."

Sunham ceo Howard Yung notes that his manufacturing bases in Shanghai and Mumbai facilitate a large measure of cost control, which he plans to pass along to retailers. "Over the last six months, we have strengthened our relationships with some of the best quality producers in the global marketplace," he said. "Our model of doing business will directly benefit merchants, their margins and their exclusive franchises."

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