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Throws a new pitch for Croscill

Durham, NC — Croscill is looking to re-energize growth by working the formula that propelled top-line gains for the $309 million company through the late '90s and into the early '00s.

During its semi-annual, pre-market style-out here, Croscill showed a panoply of looks ranging from opulent pieced constructions to targeted niche designs to straight-down-the-line floral ensembles. Croscill also added another product category to its growing stable of goods, throws. And the company continues to look for new product areas to expand into, including leveraging its hard goods accents expertise to explore non-bath coordinates and may eventually develop a Croscill solid-color towel program, said president David Kahn.

"At the end of the day, it's a matter of how we can add value and styling that's justifiable in the areas we're in — and how we can expand on that into other [product] areas," he told HTT. "We're not into creating a product just for the buzz. We never put anything on a bed that we don't expect to do well for somebody at some level of retail."

Croscill also has expanded its price points slightly at the top of its line, with retail on its best top-of-bed offerings rising from $429 to $450. "These are products with a better quality of fabrics and even more involved work," he said, adding that he expects in the future to raise the bar to $500 goods.

The company also is working to streamline distribution, with a 126,000-square-foot distribution center under construction in Oxford, NC, that will replace four leased facilities. When completed by year-end, Croscill will be shipping from two F.O.B. points within 10 minutes of each other, according to Doug Kahn, coo. The existing, company-owned Henderson, NC, complex is 350,000 square feet.

For its new throw initiative, Croscill will pursue the strategy it has followed in expanding its decorative pillow business, David Kahn said, allowing retailers either to merchandise goods as part of a bedding collection or in a freestanding department.

Throws break into a better/best assortment, with retails ranging from $29.99 to $59.99. Inaugural offerings included chunky acrylic/wool knits, sweater knits with a touch of mohair, crochet/knit combinations and tonal boucles "as a nice change from all the chenille," said window designer Cheryl Johnson. The upper end of the assortment includes faux fur throws backed in suede.

Croscill sidesteps the crowded solid-color chenille market, offering instead embroidered color block chenilles as coordinates to some of its bedding groups, Johnson said.

Also offered as a coordinate is a line of woven acrylic throws and Native American-inspired patterns that coordinate back to Croscill's new Canyon line.

Canyon, the signature niche statement during style-out, targets a master bedroom customer that is "not quite as formal and a little bit younger than a traditional type," said bedding designer Jerry Mobley.

Emblematic of the collection is Yucatan, which combines South American influences with grass cloth, a suggestion of strip woven over the ground print, with rainbow novelty yarn shot through parts of the pattern for brightness.

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