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Window Coverings (2003): Deflation shaded window

NEW YORK — Deflation left its mark on sales in the soft window category last year, depressing overall retail volume by roughly 2.6 percent.

At the moderate and upper-moderate levels of retail, "All of the massive price-point reductions have taken place already," said David Kahn, president and CEO of Croscill Home.

He added that since there has been no large-scale window manufacturing based in the United States for the past few years, the category ran ahead of some other home textiles products in making the transition to global production.

"One of the positive aspects of window is that the shift to sourcing feels more stabilized than in other areas of home textiles," he said.

In the mass market, deflation is still a factor, suppliers said. However, because of the sheer number of new store openings the channel generates each year, the business is clipping ahead. Discount department stores now account for 32 percent of the sales volume in soft window compared with 39 percent for mid-price retailers.

The mid-price sector is lead by JCPenney, which claims 30 percent of the country's total window business (hard and soft). However, according to many, the sheer velocity of Wal-Mart store openings is putting the discounter within reach of Penney's soft window volume.

What's helping to drive the window business overall, several suppliers agreed, is the leveraging of sourcing to offer "custom quality" at ready-made pricing.

Said Frank Foley, president of CHF Industries, "What consumers used to think of as a $1,000 window can now be had for $200. And there is a range at opening price point level for every potential consumer in the marketplace."

Distribution Channels (in $billions)
2003: $3.75 billion
-2.6% Decrease over 2002

2003 % 2003 $
1. Mid-price chains 39% $1.463
2.Discount department stores 32 1,200
3. Home textile specialty chains 20 750
4. Department stores 3 113
5. Home improvement centers 2 75
6. Single unit specialty stores 1 38
7. Off-price chains 1 38
8. Variety/closeout 1 38
9. Direct-to-consumer 1 38




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