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A year of change for Top 5 players

On the heels of a year fraught with changes, Home Textiles Today's ranking of the Top 5 suppliers in 18 product categories includes a few new players and ranking shake-ups almost across the board.

In only four out of 18 categories did all of last year's top suppliers hold on to their ranking in this year's survey. The implosion of Pillowtex rippled across the field, making the greatest impact on basic bedding categories. In last year's survey, Pillowtex charted as a Top 5 supplier in eight categories, but its demise was only partially responsible for the shifts in this year's study.

After closing the books on 2003, four suppliers ascended into the top spots for their categories — only one in a former Pillowtex category.

  • CHF donned the mantle of the sales leader in curtains/draperies with $140 million after nipping at S. Lichtenberg's heels for several years.

  • With Pillowtex out of the way, Pacific Coast Feather rose to No. 1 in sleep pillows, even though its sales of $130 million represented a 3 percent decline from 2002.

  • Springs Industries overtook Allure at the top of the heap in bath accessories with $81 million in sales.

In quilts, Keeco supplanted Sunham Home Fashions by ringing up $90 million in sales.

But they weren't the only ones making tracks. In all, 21 rankers moved up in the listing, 11 of them boosted by the liquidation of Pillowtex. There were only five non-Pillowtex categories in which top suppliers climbed the rankings on their own hook: bath accessories, curtains/draperies, quilts, rugs and throws.

Five of eight new category leaders owe their spots to the absence of Pillowtex. Those newcomers and their categories included Lacey Mills, bath rugs; Pendleton Woolen Mills, blankets; WestPoint Stevens, down comforters; Hollander Home Fashions, mattress pads; and Louisville Bedding, sleep pillows.

However, three newcomers would have landed on the list regardless of Pillowtex's fortunes.

American Pacific climbed aboard the ranking for top suppliers of comforters/bedspreads at the No. 4 position, with $135 million in sales, dislodging Croscill in the process.

Franco, a charter in the Top 15 overall-supplier ranking for three years, landed among the top individual category suppliers in a new group this year. Franco staked out the No. 4 spot among sheet/pillowcase suppliers, with $95 million in sales.

JR United made its debut in the bath towel category at No. 3, with $65 million in sales and a 30 percent sales increase from 2002.

Overall, among slots where year-over-year comparisons were available, there were 47 sales gains in 2003 — more than half the pack. There were 27 double-digit gainers, up nicely from 16 in last year's ranking.

In the winners circle, the laurels went to powerhouse Springs Industries, which moved up in the rankings in four categories: bath accessories (No. 1), bath towels (No. 2), sleep pillows (No. 3), and mattress pads (No. 4). In addition, Springs made its debut in the blanket category with the acquisition of No. 3 Charles D. Owen Manufacturing.

Springs is now the largest supplier in four out of the 10 categories in which it charts: accessories, comforters, sheets/pillowcases and shower curtains. In categories where it was already No. 1, Springs widened the distance between itself and the No. 2 player — ahead of its rivals in sheets/pillowcases by $240 million, in comforters by $195 million and in shower curtains by $15 million.

Setting aside the formidable shadow cast by Springs, two other companies were notable for managing to log triple-digit increases.

Sleep Innovations led all others in category sales gains with a 150 percent jump to $130 million as it stepped up product and packaging specs. WestPoint Stevens, despite a tough year and bankruptcy filing, jumped ahead 125 percent in the down comforter category to $45 million, largely due to strong growth in its Ralph Lauren Home line and the addition of a new program in the specialty retail channel.

The year was no cakewalk, however. The 21 sales declines posted across the rankings were up sharply over last year's study, which recorded just 10.

Having the toughest time of it were Sunham Home Fashions, down 31 percent in quilts to $70 million; Biddeford, down 25 percent in blankets to $18 million; Dan River, down 20 percent in both comforters (to $153 million) and sheets/pillowcases (to $179 million), and Brentwood Originals, down 23 percent in throws to $20 million.

The combination of auctions, price-point erosion and 2003's soft economy left many suppliers scrambling simply to stay in place. As a result, 21 percent of the rankers this year reported flat sales.

The shower curtain category was hardest hit on that score. Only Springs Industries, the new No. 1, managed a sales gain at 12 percent. Every other leading supplier in shower curtains ran flat for the year.

Also taking some knocks was the decorative pillow category, which was inundated with new players last year as every company with a sourcing operation decided to wade in. In this year's ranking, three out of the top five suppliers failed to nudge sales upward, including perennial No. 1 Brentwood Originals.

It was a very good year

Category % increase
Source: Home Textiles Today market research
Sleep Innovations foam pillows/toppers 150%
WestPoint Stevens down comforters 125
The Northwest Company throws 38
Maples Rugs bath rugs 36
Pendleton Woolen Mills blankets 33


A year to forget

Category % decrease
Source: Home Textiles Today market research
Sunham quilts 31%
Biddeford blankets 25
Brentwood Originals throws 23
Dan River comforters 20
Dan River sheets/pillowcases 20


Bath accessories

'02 sales $mil '01 sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Springs Industries, Fort Mill, S.C. $81 74 9% Expanded share by pursuing volume business, especially in the mass channel.
2. Allure Home Creations, Boonton, N.J. 75 $75 0 Maintained placement with key accounts; expanded fashion line of accessories that coordinate with other bath products.
3. Creative Bath Products, Central Islip, N.Y. 47 47 0 Lost some placement with a major mass retail account but gained new placements with other mass merchants.
4. Croscill Home, New York 46 48 (5) Dropped down from the No. 3 spot due mainly to slumped sales at department stores — one of the company's key distribution channels.
5. Ex-Cell Home Fashions, New York 15 15 0 Focused on fashion coordinate business to offset price point erosion.
( ): Denotes decline
Wrap-up
To battle the downward pricing spiral — and to simply keep pace — suppliers tied fashion coordinate offerings to towels, rugs and shower curtains to boost add-on sales. The increasing sophistication of overseas sourcing operations brought more variety of product to volume channels. Construction combinations of wood with glass and metal helped maintain price point integrity.


Bath rugs

'02 sales $mil '01 sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Mohawk Home, Sugar Valley, Ga. $172 $169 2% Gained placement with new solid-color programs in varied constructions.
2. Springs Industries, Fort Mill, S.C. 160 145 10 Picked up former Pillowtex business; picked up new placement for branded products.
3. Maples Rups, Scottsboro, Ala. 80 59 36 Gained new placement at all distribution levels, especially with mid-tier department stores; also expanded with Martex brand through a license with WestPoint Stevens.
4. Shaw Living, Dalton, Ga. 30 N/A --- Entered the category through its acquisition of Georgia Tufters.
5. Lacey Mills, Cartersville, Ga. 24 N/A --- The liquidation of former No. 4 player Pillowtex boosted Lacey into the ranking.
( ): Denotes decline
Wrap-up
Although the former Pillowtex did not dominate the bath rug category, its demise freed up enough business to plump sales at several major competitors. Among them, Springs and Mohawk benefited handsomely. Other major shifts in the category came in April when Shaw Living acquired long-time Top 5 player Georgia Tufters. The move bumped Shaw in the No. 4 slot and made room for Lacey Mills, a newcomer to the Top 5 listing.


Bath towels

'02 sales $mil '01 sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. WestPoint Stevens, New York $560 $550 2% Despite weak demand in the first half of '03, WestPoint increased share in the second half due to Pillowtex's closure.
2. Springs Industries, Fort Mill, S.C. 310 239 30 Springs benefited the most in this category, picking big pieces of the Pillowtex business.
3. J.R. United, Miami 65 50 30 Picked up some solid-color business and enjoyed good fashion jacquard sales; growth also rolled out new Izod and Umbra licenses.
4. Santens, Anderson, S.C. 53 52 2 Placements were up with specialty stores; making up for declines at department stores and mass merchants.
5. 1888 Mills, Griffin, Ga. 32 31 3 Merged with ESN, a Chicago-based company involved in global manufacturing.
Wrap-up
In the quest to reverse the downward pricing cycle, the market emphasized low twist or zero twist towels, decorative towels and embellished towel lines to come up with more solid-color-towel alternatives. None of which prevented the "better" lines from swiftly falling under the same pricing pressure, particularly as Wal-Mart and Target pursued better constructions. New players will continue to emerge as overseas sourcing explodes.


Blankets

'02 sales $mil '01 sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. WestPoint Stevens, New York $130 $150* (13)% Saw fresh competition to its Vellux franchise and radically reconfigured Vellux.
2. Sunbeam, Boca Raton, Fla. 115 105 5 Still the dominant producer of automatic blankets and throws, with only token competition from imports.
3. Charles D. Owen Div. Of Springs, Swannanoa, N.C. 100 100 0 Redrawing industry lines, the venerable family-held company sold itself to Springs; launched a new flocked product to compete with Vellux.
4. Biddeford Textile, Biddeford, Maine 18 24 (25) Hit by high U.S. costs, owner Microlite of Taiwan shuttered the Maine manufacturing operations and moved production offshore.
5. Pendleton Woolen Mills, Portland, Ore. 16 12 33 A growing home program of new looks in fashion blankets augmented the company's core Native American looks.
*revised downward from an originally reported $160 million.
( ): Denotes decline
Wrap-up
It was another tough year for blanket producers, as they coped with warming weather, continued industry consolidation, the collapse of Pillowtex and a weak retail environment. The net effect: only one producer, Pendleton — new to the ranking this year — logged a gain in sales. WestPoint faced competition to its core Vellux product from the Charles D. Owen division of Springs. The big loser was Biddeford, which shut the doors to its U.S. manufacturing plant after a product recall brought a halt to a hoped-for revival.


Comforters

'02 sales $mil '01 sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Springs Industries, Fort Mill, S.C. $445 $406 10% The demise of Pillowtex allowed Springs to pick up additional market share.
2. WestPoint Stevens, New York 260 265 (2) Despite growth in bed-in-a-bag products, sales of other bedding accessories were under pressure resulting in a slight decline in the category.
3. Dan River, Danville, Va. 153 191 (20) The company experienced sales declines across all retail channels. Kmart's downsizing bit into the Martha Stewart Everyday program.
4. American Pacific, San Francisco 135 N/A N/A Channel-specific programs Dockers, Nautica and addition of Liz Claiborne pumped sales.
5. Croscill Home, New York 124 130 (5) Business was down in the category and the company has been transitioning into more global sourcing.
( ): Denotes decline
Wrap-up
It was a year of diminished buying on the part of consumers. Closely tied to consumer confidence and the economy, consumption has been dropping steadily since 2000, and most suppliers have been waiting for a rebound that hasn't hit. The demise of Pillowtex meant tremendous opportunity for Springs to pick up additional market share as well as other players like American Pacific — a new player in the Top 5 — to gain a larger presence in the category.


Curtains/draperies

'02 sales $mil '01 sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. CHF Industries, New York $140 $130 8% CHF saw growth in its specialty shop base, while its mass-merchant business was flat.
2. S. Lichtenberg, New York 135 135 0 The company continues to expand imports, with China becoming a larger player.
3. Springs Industries, Fort Mill, S.C. 104 92 13 In 2003, Springs stopped manufacturing soft window in the United States, shifting the business to its import office in China.
4. Croscill Home, New York 84 88 (5) Croscill is moving from a manufacturing business to a sourcing business.
5. Miller Curtain, San Antonio, Texas 70 70 0 Up until recently, 98 percent of the company's line was made in the United States, but that is changing.
( ): Denotes decline
Wrap-up
The overwhelming manufacture of window product is now firmly on the shores of other countries, as U.S. manufacturers have either closed factories here or opened sourcing facilities overseas — or both — to remain competitive. China holds the majority share of sourced product, and that will only grow with time. Among U.S. manufacturers, CHF claims the number one spot this year, leapfrogging over S. Lichtenberg.


Decorative pillows

'02 sales $mil '01 sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Brentwood Originals, Carson, Calif. $121 $121 0% Introduced new fabrications, like jacquard and textured chenilles, to make up for poor solid chenille sales late in '02 and offset a 5 percent decline in retail pricing.
2. Arlee, New York 74 69 7 Gained new and added placements with single-price stores and mass retailers.
3. Mohawk Home, Sugar Valley, Ga. 31 28 11 Expanded offerings to include more upscale goods catering to new customers at gift stores.
4. Newport, Portland, Ore. 25 25 0 Maintained placement with key accounts; stepped up importing efforts.
5. Fashion Industries, Griffin, Ga. 22 22 0 Lost placement at department stores but gained placement at specialty stores.
Wrap-up
As Kmart continued to recuperate and other major retailers went the direct-importing route, the Top 5 category players struggled to find new ways to maintain market share and generate interest in their new goods. Importing activity continued to grow, allowing for more upscale looks at smart price points but also driving the push for lower price points on promotional goods. With a bevy of new players entering the category, suppliers were often forced to forsake margin to keep prices right.


Down comforters

'02 sales $mil '01 sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Pacific Coast Feather, Seattle $114 $117 (3)% Average unit-selling price was down and volume was strong, but sales are off; lost two major programs due to reverse auctions.
2. Hollander Home Fashions, Boca Raton, Fla. 68 58 17 Picked up new accounts from retailers venturing into the category.
3. Down Lite International, Loveland, Ohio 52 53 (2) Economy impacted business dramatically, but added Frank Lloyd Wright licensed line.
4. Phoenix Down, Totowa, N.J. 57 45 27 Picked up new core programs.
5. WestPoint Stevens, New York $45 $20 125 A new program in the specialty channel helped propel sales, as did strong growth in the Ralph Lauren line (a 25 to 30 percent sales increase).
( ): Denotes decline
Wrap-up
Pillowtex destabilized the marketplace early in the year by practically giving goods away. Price competition stepped up as retailers moved heavily into reverse auctions for the category. Following the Pillowtex liquidating, several majors picked up business. Pacific Coast Feather, for example, became very aggressive with promotional. Overall, consumer demand has been increasing for moderate to better goods. and down is becoming a more mainstream household product.


Foam pillows/toppers

'02 sales $mil '01 sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Sleep Innovations, West Long Branch, N.J. $130 $52 150% Stepped up packaging and product specs to hold or boost price points.
2. Carpenter Co., Richmond, Va. 50 47 6 The company has nearly tripled its capacity and began marketing its Sleep Better line in Europe this year.
3. Leggett & Platt, Carthage, Mo. 23 20 15 Expanded into slow recovery market and focused more on product consistency, quality and benefits.
4. Louisville Bedding, Louisville, Ky. 22 17 29 Added the mass merchant channel to its distribution mix this year.
5. Hudson Industries, Richmond, Va. 18 15 20 Attributed growth to wide exposure of memory foam, new patented designs and more varied coverage.
Wrap-up
Prompted in part by infomercials and broadcast advertising of foam mattress products, the category boosted its awareness among consumers in 2003. Broader acceptance and buying has helped increase sales across the board. Suppliers are battling to sidestep the sort of commoditization that has pounded price points in other basic bedding categories, largely by focusing on wellness and "sleep solutions" marketing.


Kitchen textiles

'02 sales $mil '01 sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Barth & Dreyfuss, Burbank, Calif. $60 $60 0% Refocused line into lifestyle categories with coordinates across other product categories.
2. Franco Mfg., Metuchen, N.J. 56 53 5 Gained additional placement with existing retail customers; expanded branded line of goods.
3. Cecil Saydah Co., Los Angeles 48 52 (8) Suffered price cuts at wholesale and retail levels for same volume of product as prior year.
4. John Ritzenthaler Co., West Conshoken, Pa. 34 34 0 Maintained placements at key retailers.
5. Charles Craft, Larinburg, N.C. 18 19 (5) Exited lower-margin businesses to focus on higher-end kitchen textiles; added new branded lines, including Pima cotton products, in pursuit of business at specialty and department stores.
( ): Denotes decline
Wrap-up
With the exception of Franco Manufacturing, which saw success with its branded lines, many kitchen textiles suppliers saw negative growth last year, at least in sales terms. Price erosion — pushed predominantly by discount department stores — dampened the category most, with Top 5 players reporting lower sales for the same amount of product shipped. Looking to reinvigorate the category, the trend now is to upscale kitchen textiles through branding.


Mattress pads

'02 sales $mil '01 sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Louisville Bedding, Louisville, Ky. $98 $112 (13)% Picked up business from Pillowtex, but battled through tough economic conditions and retailer inventory restraints.
2. Perfect Fit Industries, Charlotte, N.C. 60 65 (8) Sales clipped by pricing pressures.
3. Pacific Coast Feather, Seattle 36 29 24 Gained placement and continued to strengthen its position in a newer category.
4. Springs Industries, Fort Mill, S.C. 32 25 28 While working hard to build volume business on the mass market end, the company also expanded into value-added products.
5. Hollander Home Fashions, Boca Raton, Fla. 20 NA NA A newcomer to the Top 5, Hollander developed some unique products and better quality goods that enhance sleep.
( ): Denotes decline
Wrap-up
Another category that was shaken up by the folding of Pillowtex, formerly the No. 2 player with $72 million in 2002 sales. As is the case in many white goods categories, mattress pads suppliers are contending with price erosion and reverse auctions. Some suppliers reported that branded business continued to step up, proving the importance of brand recognition in the category and consumers' willingness to pay for better quality goods that enhance sleep.


Quilts

'02 sales $mil '01 sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Keeco, San Francisco $90 $75 20% Significantly expanded distribution with quilts as a core program, propelling Keeco to the top spot in the category ranking.
2. Sunham Home Fashions, New York 70 101 (31) First half of '03 and downward trend of traditional quilts impacted business, while newer categories have helped offset the loss.
3. PHI, San Francisco 57 50 13 Landed some major new accounts and improved styling in '03.
4. Britannica Home Fashions, New York 50 47 6 Growth has been in better quilts with more perceived value and non-traditional styling.
5. American Pacific, San Francisco 48 45 6 Expanded share at existing retail customers.
( ): Denotes decline
Wrap-up
Following an explosive cycle of growth in late 1999/2000, quilt sales are beginning to level off after a steady rise for two to three years. The category seems to have found its natural classification volume. Consumers are looking for alternatives to traditional quilts, so there will be organic growth in '04, but suppliers don't see the category taking any more market share from top-of-bed suppliers.


Rugs

'02 sales $mil '01 sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Mohawk Home, Sugar Valley, Ga. $340 $332 2% Reinvented its scatter and accent rug category, which gained the company placement at new and existing channels.
2. Shaw Living, Dalton, Ga. 155 127 22 Expanded scatter and accent rug offerings through acquisition of Georgia Tufters; maintained core placements.
3. Maples Rugs, Scottsboro, Ala. 150 141 6 Gained new placements at mass merchant level with new lines of printed area and accent rug offerings.
4. Oriental Weavers, Dalton, Ga. 120 110 8 Expanded existing and added new accent-size collections in a variety of constructions.
4. Springs Industries, Fort Mill, S.C. 120 125 (4) Lost some placements with key retailers; expanded accent rug offerings.
( ): Denotes decline
Wrap-up
Most of the top players in the rug category might have suffered flat or below-expected results last year, had it not been for the momentum propelled at retail for accent and scatter sizes. Each of the Top 5 companies jumped on the bandwagon with new offerings and expansions of existing accent-size collections. Many also created new in-store fixtures to help retail push sales. But much of it was accomplished through domestic production; importing played a fair but not predominant role.


Sheets & pillowcases

'02 sales $mil '01 sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Springs Industries, Fort Mill, S.C. $740 $640 16% Pillowtex's demise created tremendous opportunity for Springs to pick up some significant volume programs.
2. WestPoint Stevens, New York 500 525* (5) Continued to experience pricing pressure, though unit volumes declined at a lesser rate than sales dollars.
3. Dan River, Danville, Va. 179 224 (20) Hurt by lower replenishment requests; company also shut a DC and two plants.
4. Franco Manufacturing, Metuchen, N.J. 95 85 12 Growth in flannels, wovens, jerseys and licensed products is attributed to strong adult brands and licensed characters.
5. Divatex Home Fashions, New York 85 68 25 Saw momentum build in higher thread counts and better fabrications.
*revised downward from an originally reported $580 million
( ): Denotes decline
Wrap-up
The category struggles with the consistent deflation of product prices on "luxury" goods such as higher thread-count sheets and better fibers such as Egyptian and Supima cottons. Consumption also diminished in step with consumer confidence and a slack economy. Most suppliers have been waiting for a rebound that hasn't hit. The demise of Pillowtex meant tremendous opportunity for companies like Springs and Franco Manufacturing to pick up additional market share in the category.


Shower curtains

'02 sales $mil '01 sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Springs Industries, Fort Mill, S.C. $85 $75 12% Strong sales at mass level with major retail customers; grew its branded and licensed offerings.
2. Allure Home Creation, Boonton, N.J. 70 70 0 Maintained placement with key accounts.
3. Ex-Cell Home Fashions, New York 68 68 0 Balanced lost placement at one major retail customer but gains of new placement with key accounts; stepped up basic offerings.
4. Tobin/Maytex Mills, Yonkers, N.Y. 34 34 0 Lost placement with one major retailer; added Chereskin Home brand to its line of licensed goods.
5. Creative Bath Products, Central Islip, N.Y. 32 32 0 Expanded branded lines and licensed programs.
Wrap-up
The only Top 5 shower curtain company that experienced growth — and at a fair rate — was Springs Industries, thanks mainly to its emphasis on the mass market. Otherwise, pricing ruled the day, mostly downward. Companies were able to stay flat by maintaining placements with key accounts. Trends in the category over the past year included high-end looks such as faux suede, and pushing brands to differentiate.


Sleep pillows

'02 sales $mil '01 sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Pacific Coast Feather, Seattle $130 $134 (3) Lost two major programs to reverse auctions, otherwise would have reported strong increases; encouraged by success of new Sealy and Ingeo programs.
2. Hollander Home Fashions, Boca Raton, Fla. 128 110 16 Picked up former Pillowtex business.
3. Springs Industries, Fort Mill, S.C. 105 94 12 Nabbed the Tommy Hilfiger basic bedding license — and some private-label business — after the collapse of Pillowtex.
4. WestPoint Stevens, New York 80 85* (6) Decline in sales at leading mass merchant customer resulted in a category decline.
5. Louisville Bedding, Louisville, Ky. 42 38 11 Picked up business from Pillowtex, which propelled it into the Top 5.
*Revised downward from an originally reported $89 million
( ): Denotes decline
Wrap-up
With the price of cotton, down and polyester rising 25 to 30 percent, basics and sleep-product manufacturers are stressing the importance of focusing on the benefits, value and technological advances these goods offer. They believe that as the public becomes aware of the merits of these items, consumers will pay more for quality and innovation — hoping in the process to hang onto better margin business since the bottom has fallen out of pricing on basic, high-volume goods.


Table linens

'02 sales $mil '01 sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Town and Country, Lakewood, N.J. $112 $90 20 Had success with its seasonal business, especially in its Halloween, harvest and Christmas collections at mass merchants and specialty stores.
2. Elrene Home Fashions, New York 57 57 0 Maintained status with addition of more kitchen textile coordinates; gained placement with specialty and department store customers.
3. Bardwil Linens, New York 54 53 2 Had strong success at department-store level with licensed Lenox collection, especially for harvest and Christmas seasonal merchandise.
4. Avonhome, Braintree, Mass. 49 45 8 Gained placement at mass merchant, specialty and department stores.
5. Ex-Cell Home Fashions, New York 25 27 (8) Refocused category on in-house brands and fashion lines.
( ): Denotes decline
Wrap-up
Table linens experienced ups and downs during 2002, with the growth in seasonal sales helping suppliers to move past overall pricing pressures. Town & Country and Avonhome boasted gains, thanks to designer licenses and healthy sales in seasonal offerings. Specialty stores devoted more space to the category, also helping to motivate sales and promote more high-end and designer looks.


Throws

'02 sales $mil '01 sales $mil % Chg. Comments
1. Mohawk Home, Sugar Valley, Ga. $90 $86 5 Mohawk not only stabilized, but grew its throw business after a deep slide the year before.
2. Manual Woodworkers & Weavers, Hendersonville, N.C. 75 75 0 Manual, which pioneered the cotton-jaqcuard throw, now relies on its accessory business.
3. The Northwest Company, New York 51 37 38 Northwest parlayed a vast portfolio of licensed product and a jump in juvenile fleece into continued rapid growth.
4. Biederlack of America, Cumberland, Md. 47 47 0 The company's throw business was substantially flat last year despite sharp gains in the licensed-sports business.
5. Brentwood Originals, Carson, Calif. 20 26 (23) The decrease came from a combination of price deflation, retailers going overseas and the high cost of buying into new accounts.
( ): Denotes decline
Wrap-up
2003 was a year that most throw producers are happy to put behind them, with three of the Top 5 running flat to down. After repositioning its big throw business in 2002, Mohawk grew it by 5 percent in 2003. But the biggest winner was The Northwest Company, which parlayed a growing roster of licenses into a 38 percent jump. "But this is probably the last year we can put up those kinds of numbers," said chairman Shay Auerbach. "A company our size can only do so much."


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