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Mohawk heats up blanket market

Calhoun, GA — Stretching even further a highly elastic playing field for blanket producers, hard-charging Mohawk Home is bursting into the business at next month's mini-market with a debut line of adult bed blankets, and is putting them out at price points designed to attract attention.

Using the jacquard equipment it acquired with its buyout of the Crown Crafts woven products business last year, Mohawk is targeting multiple channels of distribution with aggressively priced lines of cotton jacquard blankets, fleece and micro-fiber blankets and a top-of-the-line rayon chenille.

Jeff Jacobs, vice president and general manager of textile products and global sourcing for Mohawk Home, said the inaugural line will include "two to three opening-price-point cottons" with a $15 to $20 twin retail.

Taking the line in a different direction, an opening-price-point fleece, produced in Mexico, will hit a $20 retail twin, while a heavier-weight step-up fleece carries a $25 to $30 price tag. Fleeces will come in a variety of solid colors and prints. A micro-fiber bed blanket will be retail priced at $25 and up, said Jacobs.

Creating a top-of-the-line umbrella is a super-soft, high-loft rayon chenille with an especially sharp retail price-point of $39.99 for the twin.

"We're trying to target all three channels with these products and prices, and we think we can service mass, mid-tier and upstairs retailers with the cottons and fleeces, while the chenille is mid-tier and up."

Mohawk clearly intends to become a major player, capitalizing on recent volatility in a stodgy, stalled blanket business. "It's a natural extension of the bedspread and coverlets we're doing, and retailers have been after us to get into the blanket business," said Jacobs.

Especially with those price points, Mohawk plans to cut a wide swath with its debut line of blankets. "We're planning the business somewhere in the neighborhood of $15 million to $20 million this year, and we think that's a very realistic number," said Jacobs. "Beyond that depends on what kind of programs we can take and how our competitors respond with their own pricing. But it's conceivable that we could double or triple that number over the next three or so years," making Mohawk potentially a $45 million to $60 million player.

"The nice thing about the woven products, the coverlets, the bedspreads, the blankets, is that it's a pretty flat business with a spike in the fall. It's a lot more even, consistent business than the throws, where so much of your business is done in just 90 days. This is so much easier to plan."

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