Purcell regroups after shake-up

Carole Sloan, December 8, 2003

High-end global decorative textile supplier Purcell International Group is reorganizing its business by absorbing its Global Textile Group division.

The unit represents international decorative fabric companies in the upper mid-price range.

The move comes about after five high-end textiles mills previously represented by Purcell International decided to serve the United States market directly.

Purcell International now represents Spandauer Velours of Germany and Ragolle of Belgium, both formerly represented by the Global division. Purcell also has just become the United States distributor for Certaldese of Italy, a producer of high-end woven leather fabrics and leather floor tiles.

The companies no longer represented by Purcell are Algemene and Bruvatex-Sagaert & Speyer, both of Belgium, Penelope of Turkey, Zensilk of India and Decoviz of Portugal.

This quintet, according to Algemene's Luc Callens, speaking for the group, will be represented by a common group of US sales agents and will be backed up by a customer sales office in New Jersey. The group is may also establish communal showrooms in New York City and High Point. "We believe that in the long run this new marketing approach will allow us to be more price competitive and will shorten the response time in 'customing' developments, designs and colours," Callens explained.

The pullout, "was sudden and apparently without justification nor prior warning," said Andrew Purcell, owner and president. The 20-year-old importing company was founded by his father, Harold, and a former partner, Mel Letchinger

"We had no complaints regarding service either for the mills concerning their US customers nor from the customer viewpoint, which has always been positive," he added.

Purcell expects to expand the reach of his fabric network shortly "bringing in as in the past beautiful, unique textiles product for the US - both in the high end and the upper middle."

Ragolle, Purcell noted, "is one of the largest weavers in Belgium. Spandauer makes beautiful piece-dyed velours in jacquards and solids." The addition of Trevira CS "opens the entire contract market to us." Both companies joined the Purcell ranks in January 2003.

"We will continue to represent these and additional mills with signature top quality textiles as we have done in the past — treating customers as though they were dealing seamlessly with the suppliers in yards and dollars terms as well as service, even though they were off-shore."

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