Sourcing grew, as did deflation

Michele SanFilippo, June 14, 2004

The biggest trends taking place in the bedding category in 2003 were the continuation of price deflation, the increasing pace of globalization in the supply chain, and a larger percentage of retail businesses going directly overseas for manufacturing.

The industry also saw a shrinking number of retail customers and more suppliers with financial issues, ultimately leading to their bankruptcies.

Based on market research from WestPoint Stevens, there was an increased focus on profits for both retailers and suppliers, from individual products to logistics to productivity analysis. They also noted declining bed-in-a-bag sales, a new focus on the juvenile segment (especially tweens and back-to-school), and an influence from HGTV and television shows such as "Trading Spaces" or "Extreme Home Makeover."

"One of the biggest things to happen in the last year in fashion bedding is that most goods coming in from overseas are much better in design and quality, at a lower cost," said Theresa O'Keeffe, vice president of fashion bedding at Hollander. "Many retailers are going direct and importing themselves, which makes it hard to compete price-wise. It used to be (that) if you had a great design, the customer would pay the cost, but now they'll find someone to make a variation for them at a better price."

In addition, research shows designer bedding is still very important to many customers to foster lifestyle merchandising.

Another trend that many retailers began talking about is Latin-influenced bedding, which they are interested in testing in a smaller number of doors.

In basic bedding, the biggest trend was the idea of hotel collections.

Distribution Channels (in $millions)
2003: $6.8 billion
3% increase over 2002

2003 % 2003 $
1. Discount department stores 36% $2,448
2. Mid-price chains 22 1,496
3. Home textiles specialty stores 16 1,088
4. Department stores 12 816
5. Off-price chains 5 340
6. Other 3 204
7. Variety/closeout 2 136
8. Direct-to-consumer 2 136
9. Single unit specialty stores 1 68
10. Warehouse clubs 1 68

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