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Mattress sales expected to slow in ’08

High Point, N.C. — For the second straight year, HTT sister publication Furniture/Today is forecasting a unit decline for the U.S. mattress industry, although it sees a positive outlook for the dollar value of bedding shipments.

The forecast, compiled with input from virtually every major U.S. bedding producer, envisions a difficult year for the industry, with producers and retailers alike struggling to eek out gains. It calls for a decline in units of 0.6%, with dollars growing by only 2.8%. That dollar growth would be the weakest since the recession year of 2001, when the dollar value of bedding shipments declined by 0.3%, according to ISPA.

The producers surveyed were almost unanimous in predicting that units would be flat next year, or would decline. Six producers predicted no unit growth, while seven predicted unit declines. Only three producers forecast unit increases next year.

If the Furniture/Today bedding forecast for 2008 materializes, it will mark a third consecutive year of challenging business conditions, an unusually long stretch of hard conditions in the mattress industry.

According to the International Sleep Products Assn., which publishes annual performance data for the industry, units declined by 1.4% in 2006, while dollars grew by 4.7%. ISPA won’t publish its final figures on 2007 performance until next year.

Almost 20 producers responded to Furniture/Today’s 2008 bedding forecast questionnaire. The list of respondents included Sealy, Simmons, Serta, Select Comfort, Spring Air, Comfort Solutions, Therapedic, Restonic, Lady Americana, Park Place, Gold Bond, Carolina Mattress Guild, Stylution USA, Dormia, Bemco, Eclipse, E.S. Kluft, Magniflex and Kaymed. Most of those producers made unit and dollar projections for industry performance in 2008.

(Story by FT bedding editor David Perry.)

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