Top of Bed Shows Modest Gain, Revs Up Fashion

Top the BedNEW YORK - Top of Bed showed a modest increase in 2011 as suppliers upped the ante with embroidery details and other embellishments as well as bolder colors/designs as an antidote to the economic doldrums. Increased product prices also offset increased materials cost and helped the category with an overall gain.
     The price issues also led to retailers and suppliers playing a game of hide and seek with comforter sets. Trying to reach a "sweet spot" price, suppliers reimagined the typical bed-in-bag offering. Some continued adding decorative pillows and other accessories to differentiate themselves; others culled their offerings to three or four pieces. The gold standard in comforters is still the 8-piece set, which is about 40% of the bed set universe, according to a number of suppliers. Other category highlights: quilts showed a small gain; standalone bedspreads were fl at.
     "The beginning of the year was tough, but things picked up the second half of the year" said Keith Sorgeloos, president, Home Source International. "There was sticker shock at first as everyone realized they had to work to deliver on the right price point," he said.
     "We weren't going to duke it out at the promotional level," said Allen Darwin, vp, marketing and brand development, Triangle Home Fashions. "We didn't want to look like everybody else." New designs from Triangle included surface treatmentMerchandises such as different laces over various printed designs to give the products depth.
     "Our customers want more variety and the right design and color, and they want more than the basics to choose from," said Michael Kaplan, president, Royal Heritage Home. "We try to stay above the fray when it comes to fads and trends and show unique designs. We've done new details in our pillows and accessories and new cut and sew techniques using embroidery and different prints on our products."
     At Royal Linens, new designs moved away from geometric looks to more fl orals, abstracts and linear designs, according to Frank Snow, vp merchandising and operations. "We've expanded our master bedroom offerings with new designs and assortments that we are shipping out of the U.S.," he said. According to Snow, direct shipment is growing as a part of their business, including its new line from TV personality Vickie Payne. Royal Linens has also done well with its juvenile designs: traditional designs for boys (which Mom picks out) and more "funky" girls' designs (which more girls choose themselves.)
     "We're seeing interest in less traditional looks - casual stripes and updated embroidery techniques," said Chris Certosimo, president, Universal Home Fashions. Another growing trend seen by Universal: Euro-sized pillows, which translates into more Euro sham options in bedding sets.
     Will fashion and style updates keep shoppers coming to stores? Suppliers hope that it can help them push through the economic issues still looming.


Distribution channels

2011 total retail sales: $3,455 million

up 1.2% from $3,415 million in 2010





Discount department stores




Mid-price chains




Home textiles specialty chains








Department stores




Off-price chains








Warehouse clubs




Single-unit home textiles specialty stores












Other includes home improvement centers, military exchanges and gift/home accent stores.

Figures have been rounded. 2010 figures have been revised.

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