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New CEO Charts Sure Fit Course

Michele SanFilippo, Staff Staff -- Home Textiles Today, October 18, 2004

New York — Recently appointed Sure Fit CEO Salo Grosfeld plans to take the company in new directions, such as expanding into decorative pillows, throws and window, while discontinuing bedding, he said in an interview with HTT.

“We want to use the formula we’ve created to become a leader in the slipcover arena and apply it to these categories,” Grosfeld said.

“We will definitely continue marketing to consumers because we feel that is how we built up our reputation and brand, but are still analyzing the future of our catalog business to see if we continue with that strategy,” he added, saying it was not a main thrust of the business.

“We are the only domestic slipcover manufacturer and believe that is our strength, so we are not going to rush everything into imports in the short term,” stated Grosfeld. “Obviously that is the way most of the home textiles business is going long term, but it doesn’t mean 100 percent of your products need to be there. Quality and service will remain the important issues to us as they’ve been in the past.”

Grosfeld maintained that Sure Fit will continue to innovate and spend money on additional patents in the future. “Newer slipcover competitors are still trying to figure out the business and aren’t as much about product, but price,” he added. “We hope retailers recognize the value and innovation we bring to the table, but realize there may be some short-term losses.”

He explained, the previous executive team was focused on building a big company potentially for future sale. He said his focus will be to strengthen the business and build it through its retail partners. “In today’s day and age, with the consolidation of retailers, vendor consolidation is something that is bound to happen, so we needed to be able to provide retailers with a wider scope of merchandise,” said Grosfeld.

Although Sure Fit and JR United, Grosfeld’s towel and bedding firm, remain as two separate sister companies, they will share in each other’s strengths and be able to learn from one another, he said. According to Grosfeld, JR United will continue to do bed and bath and Sure Fit will provide solutions for rooms in the rest of the house.

“JR United is very strong in global sourcing and currently makes product in almost 30 countries. Sure Fit has a very organized and professional sales and marketing team,” he pointed out.

According to Sure Fit’s Dan Cacella, senior vice president of sales, “The challenges are many for us because when you lose a year of normal business operations, you have to get back on track as quickly as possible.”

He added that Sure Fit is trying to address consumer needs and concerns through the products and innovations it brings to market. “It’s fashion for the home, but it also has to be about protection and fit,” he added.

New introductions at last week’s New York Home Textiles Market include: Performance Twill with stain resist, wrinkle resistance, zero shrinkage, color fastness and a heavyweight construction. Textured Cord is also new in three colors for chairs, sofas and love seats. Lexington is a new printed pieced cotton construction that mixes floral, plaid and mini check fabrics in tones of cranberry, neutral and sage. It is available in table rounds, squares, decorative pillows, window treatments and dining room chair covers. A new wrap construction that is more streamlined and modern with ties in the back hidden by a skirt is also new.

A big innovation this market is the Stretch Slipcover in a mini pique fabrication for recliners, ottomans, chairs, sofas and love seats in a palette of eight colors. The fabric stretches up to 70 percent in one direction and 50 percent in the other to fit difficult furniture silhouettes.

There is also a new Basketweave solid textured look in four colors with contrasting trim and extra wide ties. Cottage Stripe is being offered in two colorways and a new aloe color has been added to the popular Simply Suede program. Prints throughout are done on 100-percent cotton.

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