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Atlanta Rug Show shorts

ATLANTA – Today's news from the Atlanta International Area Rug Market:

• The Nebraska Furniture Mart is looking to expand the fledgling bath rug program it began last summer by testing four to six skus. Gary Cissel, director of flooring, said that due to growing sales in the category, he will expand his offerings to 20 skus and create a special sub-division within the store's rug department. "We have learned that our customer wants her bathroom to be just as fashionable as her living room," he said. Looking to stay competitive, Nebraska Furniture Mart's offerings will comprise cotton and nylon varieties in various sizes. Retail price points will range from $9.99 to $29.99.

• Nourison, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, included among its many new introductions a machine-made collection under its Calvin Klein licensed program. Titled Loom Select, this new offering is available in 12 designs. Pricing is set at $700 for a 6-by-9.

• Balta U.S. Inc. introduced 8-foot and 10-foot oval-shaped rugs with the launch of its new Visiona Collection. Visiona is made of polypropylene in a cut-and-loop construction and features a 16mm pile height. It is currently available in 12 designs and two colorways but the company is adding up to four new colorways to be ready for early spring delivery.

• Orian Rugs has eliminated its $49 retail promotional line from its assortment in an effort to "trend up" the category to a $79 retail offering, said Don Newton, senior vice president of sales and marketing. The new Essentials Collection comes in eight designs and is made of polypropylene. In related news, the company is adding 8-foot rounds for Christmas and holiday looks as well as 8-foot rounds and squares to its main line.

• Veratex, for the first time, made an appearance at the market presenting a variety of hand-tufted and indoor/outdoor rugs, as well as all-cotton bath and accent varieties. The company recently hired James Saleh to head this new flooring division and part of his former team from his now-defunct company JWS-Associates. Saleh shut down his company Nov. 1 because of insufficient capital to support continued growth. Dale Talbert, vice president of Veratex, said the new category is part of the company's effort to expand its offering beyond its core bedding line. Veratex has a permanent showroom on the third floor of the AmericasMart. It will also preview its rugs at the February Mini-Market in New York but will make a formal presentation in April at its new showroom in 261 Fifth Ave. Veratex's rug line focuses on hand-tufted area and accent rugs from India and China, indoor/outdoor polypropylene area and accent rugs from Egypt and cotton bath and accent rugs from India.

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